A 77-year-old Singaporean elderly man, who shared the same ward with another patient later confirmed to be carrying the Covid-19 virus, was reported to have contracted the virus too. This was disclosed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday (6 Mar).
MOH said that the 77-year-old, Case 126, had been in the same ward as Case 109 in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) last Saturday and Sunday (29 Feb and 1 Mar).
“Case 126 is a 77 year-old male Singapore Citizen who has no recent travel history to affected countries and regions. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on 5 March afternoon and is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID,” MOH said in a statement.
“Case 126 had been in the same ward as Case 109 at Singapore General Hospital from 29 February to 1 March, before Case 109 had been confirmed to have COVID-19 infection.”
MOH added, “As part of enhanced precautions, patients who have acute respiratory infection will be placed in wards with greater separation between patients to minimise the risk of infection.”
Case 109 works at Fish Mart Sakuraya at 154 West Coast Road and lives at Everton Park. He reported onset of symptoms on 25 Feb and sought treatment at a clinic on 27 and 28 Feb. He was finally warded in SGH on 29 Feb sharing the same ward with Case 126. However, at the point in time, case 109 had not been tested positive for Covid-19 virus. He was only confirmed to be infected with the virus on Monday (2 Mar) afternoon.
SGH to review its processes
MOH director of medical services Kenneth Mak said it is still investigating the possibility of Covid-19 infection between Case 109 and 126 occurring in the same ward. He said, “We have asked SGH to look into their processes to make sure that there were no lapses, no breaches of their processes and to ensure that patient safety is not compromised.”
SGH’s head of infectious diseases Tan Thuan Tong defended that patients who do not meet case definitions for Covid-19 but have respiratory tract infections are put in designated wards to protect other patients at hospitals.
“The reason why (Case 126) was in the same ward was (that) as part of the enhanced precautions, patients who have acute respiratory infection will be placed in wards with greater separation between patients to minimise the risk of infection,” Tan said.
Case 126 and 109 were put in the same ward before the latter was tested positive for Covid-19.
He added that in such wards, each bed is almost 3m apart. “In this ward, we also ask patients to put on masks, we ask them to practise social distancing,” he said. “Moving forward, I think we will look at our processes.”
To assure the public, Tan said another patient who shared the ward with Case 126 and 109 is currently well.
Meanwhile, the wife of Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Ivy Ng who is the Group CEO of SingHealth overseeing SGH, remains mum.