October 26, 2021

Covid-19 cluster emerges at IMH, operations unaffected

By brit

SINGAPORE –  A Covid-19 cluster comprising 116 cases has emerged in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). 

Eight cases were added on Monday (Oct 25) to the cluster, which now has 108 inpatients and eight staff infected. 

IMH said the inpatient cases mostly came from three blocks in the hospital – Blocks 4, 5 and 6. 

Admissions to the affected wards have been suspended, IMH said, while patients who are fit for discharge will be able to go home after they test negative for Covid-19. 

The other wards in IMH, and clinical services such as its Outpatient Specialist Clinics, are unaffected and continue to admit and see patients.

The cases were detected from the hospital’s surveillance testing or picked up because the patients had developed respiratory symptoms during their stay.

The majority of the cases are long-stay patients.

IMH  was unable to provide details on when the cluster was first detected.

Patients with Covid-19 are isolated and cared for in dedicated wards, said  IMH in a statement. 

Most of these patients are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms that do not warrant being transferred to acute hospitals.

They will be transferred to the acute hospitals if necessary, for instance in cases where their condition deteriorates.

IMH said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in Singapore, IMH has put in place strict surveillance and infection control measures for visitors, patients and staff.

“These measures are adjusted according to the prevailing situation in the community, and adhere to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.”

IMH said  patient-facing staff currently undergo rostered routine testing and wear N95 masks in clinical areas. They are regularly reminded not to go to work if they are unwell, and to seek medical advice promptly.

In-patients are given swab tests before admission and throughout their stay in IMH. They are also given masks to wear during their stay.

Staff check patients’ temperatures twice a day and patients with symptoms of illness are promptly isolated.

IMH said it has also offered Covid-19 vaccination to all its acute and long-stay in-patients, as well as out-patients, adding that more than 90 per cent of its long-stay patients have been vaccinated. 

Booster shots for long-stay patients are also underway, said IMH.

In August, a cluster made up of  six cases emerged at IMH. The cases came from  two wards and comprised a staff nurse, a health attendant and six patients. The wards were closed, with visits, admissions and discharges suspended.

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