3 of 4 new Covid-19 community cases unlinked, including retiree who visited Raffles Hospital and TTSH

SINGAPORE – A 72-year-old Singaporean retiree who had been sent to Raffles Hospital for a heart condition on Wednesday (May 5) was among four new community cases on Friday.

The man tested positive for Covid-19 the next day even though he was asymptomatic, and his serology test also came back positive – indicating he could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection which are no longer transmissible and infective to others, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“But given that we are not able to definitively conclude when he had been infected, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure,” said the ministry.

It added that the man took his first dose of vaccine on Feb 22 and the second dose on March 15.

The ministry said the man routinely visited Tan Tock Seng Hospital Eye Centre for an eye condition, and his last visit was on April 23. He had not been at any of the affected wards and investigations have so far found no evidence that he is linked to the hospital cluster.

He is one of the three unlinked community cases on Friday, said MOH.

The second unlinked community case is a cleaner who works at Park Avenue Rochester, which is a stay-home notice (SHN) dedicated facility.

The 53-year-old Singaporean did not interact with guests at the hotel.

She developed a runny nose and sore throat at the end of her work day on Wednesday, and a fever the next day.

She sought medical treatment at a general practitioner’s clinic and her test result for Covid-19 came back positive on Friday. She was then taken to Singapore General Hospital.

Her serological test result is pending. She had earlier tested negative for the virus during rostered routine testing – the last being on march 29.

The cleaner had received her first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Jan 24, and the second dose on Feb 16, MOH said.

The third unlinked case is a senior executive at IGWT who mostly works from home.

The 48-year-old permanent resident visits shipping vessels periodically for work, and he last boarded one on March 1, MOH said.

He is asymptomatic, and was detected when tested on Wednesday as part of the ministry’s testing protocol for shore-based personnel boarding vessels.

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His test came back positive the next day and he was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, said MOH.

While his serological test is pending, MOH added that his CT value was very high, which indicates he could be shedding minute fragments of virus RNA from a past infection that is no longer transmissible and infective to others.

He had been in Russia between Oct 30 last year and Jan 30 and had served SHN at a dedicated facility until Feb 13. His test taken on Feb 12 during SHN was negative for Covid-19.

However, given that the ministry could not definitively conclude when he had been infected, it has taken all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure.

The fourth community case is a 58-year-old Singaporean who is linked to the Pasir Panjang Terminal cluster.

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The unemployed man is a family member and household contact of the 59-year-old trailer truck driver at Brani Terminal and Pasir Panjang Terminal who was confirmed to have Covid-19 on Tuesday.

As he had been identified as a close contact, he was quarantined on Tuesday. The next day, he developed chills at night, and reported his symptoms.

He then developed a fever on Thursday, and tested positive for the virus on the same day. He was then taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

His serology test result is negative, MOH said.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community have increased to 45 cases in the past week from 35 in the week before. The number of unlinked cases have also risen to nine cases from six over the same period.

There were also 21 imported cases who were placed on SHN on arrival in Singapore, said MOH.

The new cases take Singapore’s total number of cases to 61,311.

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