New high of 942 Covid-19 cases in S'pore; 40-year-old Malaysian patient has died but not due to the infection

SINGAPORE – The number of new coronavirus cases among work permit holders living outside dormitories has risen to an average of 21 per day in the past week, from just 11 the week before.

A total of 27 work permit holders who lived outside dormitories were confirmed to have the Covid-19 infection on Saturday (April 18), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in its latest daily update on infection numbers.

A 40-year-old Malaysian work permit holder, who was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Friday (April 17), died of a heart attack on Saturday.

Also known as Case 4,754, his death was not due to complications from the Covid-19 infection, the ministry added.

Singapore reported its sharpest single-day spike of 942 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of infections here to 5,992.

The latest numbers once more showed that foreign workers living in dormitories drove the increase.

Most of the new cases – 893 – are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories. This takes the number of workers in dorms infected with Covid-19 to more than 4,000, or about two-third of the total cases here.

It means that nearly 1.3 per cent of the 323,000 living in dormitories have so far been infected.

MOH said most of these cases are young, have a mild illness and are being monitored in the community isolation facilities or general ward of our hospitals. None of them is in the intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, there were 22 community cases in Singapore, comprising 14 Singaporeans and permanent residents, six with work passes, one on a dependant’s pass and one on a long-term visit pass.

While the number of new cases per day in the community has gone down, the number of those that are unlinked has risen slightly.

The average number of new community cases per day dropped to 31 over the past week, from 40 the week before.

On the other hand, the average number of unlinked cases in the community has increased slightly to 22 per day in the past week, from 19 cases the week earlier.

MOH said the contact tracing and epidemiology teams are working to identify the source of infection for the unlinked cases, but this will become increasingly difficult as time passes.

“Our surveillance programme is also ongoing, where a small sample of patients at our primary care facilities are tested for Covid-19 infection,” it added. “The cases picked up through this surveillance is an indication of the presence of undetected cases in the community.”

Of the new cases, 21 per cent are currently unlinked.

Three more clusters linked to dormitories were also announced, including two large purpose-built dormitories: Homestay Lodge, linked to eight cases, and CDPL Tuas Dormitory, linked to five cases.

This means that more than half – 24 of 43 – of Singapore’s purpose-built dormitories, along with several smaller factory-converted dormitories, have reported active clusters in recent weeks.

Singapore’s largest cluster, S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, added another 252 cases and now has 1,375 cases – nearly a quarter of the country’s total.

The ministry also gave an update on a coronavirus patient from the public healthcare sector.

A 28 year-old Indian national, who works as a housekeeper at the Singapore General Hospital, reported onset of symptoms on Wednesday (April 15). Subsequent test results confirmed the Covid-19 infection on Friday.

Also known as Case 5,539, he is currently warded at SGH and has not gone to work since his symptoms started. He has no recent travel history to affected countries or regions.

MOH also said that 38 more coronavirus patients were discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing the total number of people who have recovered here to 740.

Of the 2,563 confirmed cases still in hospital, most are stable or improving. But 23 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Another 2,678 patients who are clinically well but still test positive for Covid-19 are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

A total of 11 patients have passed away from complications due to the coronavirus infection.

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