The Straits Times (19 May 2021)
As Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)
progressively reopened for admissions
yesterday, it said it has
strengthened defences but acknowledged
that it will not be able
to eliminate all risks.
“The risks to our front-line healthcare workers continue to be real and present,” the hospital said in a Facebook post yesterday.
“Even with aggressive testing and monitoring, we can reduce but never eliminate all risks.” After a surge in Covid-19 community cases linked to TTSH, the hospital said it worked with the Ministry of Health to contain the cluster – which has 46 cases as at Monday – to protect patients and staff.
The hospital said it will ramp up support to deal with ongoing community transmission of Covid-19.
On Monday, TTSH announced the move to resume admissions two weeks after it stopped admitting patients owing to the cluster.
“The last case of exposure in our wards was more than two weeks ago,” the hospital said on Monday.
Since that last case, the TTSHlinked cases reported were already under active surveillance in isolation at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases or under quarantine.
TTSH has completed six rounds of testing for all inpatients and two rounds for all 12,000 staff on campus. “We are not fully out of the woods just yet, but we are turning the corner,” the hospital said yesterday.
At TTSH yesterday morning, nurses were seen wearing full personal protective equipment and N95 masks.
When The Straits Times visited the accident and emergency unit, there were about five people in the waiting area outside. No queues were seen at the patient registration kiosks.
For the next two weeks, the hospital will allow one pre-registered visitor per patient, with a limit of one visit a day of up to 30 minutes.
Visitors of critically ill patients and those seeking medical treatment in the emergency department are also allowed.
Ms Lim Hwee San, who is in her 40s and declined to reveal her occupation, was at the hospital yesterday morning with her mother, who had broken her wrist after a fall.
When asked whether she was concerned about the TTSH cluster, Ms Lim said: “Both my mum and I are fully vaccinated and we don’t see the cluster growing a lot in recent days. I presume the hospital must have conducted adequate checks before opening.”
A 70-year-old woman who said she was a retiree and gave her name only as Mrs Toh was relieved that her husband’s appointments would not have to be rescheduled again.
He was scheduled for a CT scan of the colon in February, but it was cancelled twice as he had been feeling unwell.
“Every six months, he has a gastroenterology consultation so that the doctor can review his condition. We had to see the doctor urgently before his consultation on June 3,” she said.