Visitors to Alexandra Hospital ward barred after employee tests positive for Covid-19

Alexandra Hospital has disinfected all the areas the basic care assistant who tested positive for Covid-19 had been in.
Alexandra Hospital has disinfected all the areas the basic care assistant who tested positive for Covid-19 had been in.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

SINGAPORE - Visitors will be barred from a ward in Alexandra Hospital until further notice after an employee tested positive for Covid-19.

She was among the four unlinked cases reported by the Health Ministry on Wednesday (May 19).

In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, the hospital said the 24-year-old Singaporean provided basic nursing care in the affected ward, which is used by patients who require rehabilitation.

It added that the employee had adhered to personal protective equipment guidelines.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a hospital spokesman said contact tracing for the basic care assistant has been completed and all 31 inpatients, as well as 58 staff for the ward, have been swabbed.

On Monday, the infected employee had returned to work in the ward after 10 days' leave, said the hospital.

On the same morning, she underwent staff surveillance testing and was asymptomatic then.

However, she developed a cough later in the day.

Her test result on Tuesday was initially inconclusive and she was immediately isolated.

A second test the same day came back positive for the virus.

Quarantine orders have been issued to 19 staff and nine patients who were in close contact with the hospital worker, the spokesman said.

Staff who are assessed to have minimal risk of exposure have been advised to monitor their own health for 14 days from the day of exposure on May 17.

"We assess that the risk of transmission is likely to be limited as the affected staff had worked in only one area of the ward, was isolated early, and infection control measures were implemented in a timely manner," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the affected ward will stop accepting new admissions and visitors as a precautionary measure.

"Repeated swabs will be arranged according to risk assessment," said the spokesman.

The other areas of the hospital remain unaffected and continue to provide care for the hospital's patients amid strict measures.

The basic care assistant is now being cared for in an isolation room at the hospital and is currently well, said the Facebook post.

"We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused... We are also updating and supporting the well-being of our patients and families," it added.

Alexandra Hospital is the latest hospital to be hit by the surge in community cases over the past three weeks.

On Sunday, a Raffles Hospital nurse was reported to have Covid-19, while an operating theatre nurse at Sengkang General Hospital was confirmed on May 11 to have the virus.

Following the emergence of Singapore's second-largest active cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on April 28, many hospitals have started swabbing all staff to detect Covid-19 cases as early as possible.