7 S'pore preschool staff test positive for Covid-19, while some 15,300 test negative

Some Covid-19 cases have surfaced via mandatory testing before preschools reopen.

Belmont Lay | May 24, 2020, 02:34 AM

A total of seven preschool staff in Singapore have tested positive for Covid-19 infection after undergoing the one-time swabbing required of all preschools and early intervention staff.

This figure represents a more than 99 percent negative rate, the Early Childhood Development Agency said in a media statement on May 23, 2020, as the mass testing exercise is at the mid-way mark now.

ECDA said about 15,300 tests have come back negative.

The one-time swab test is compulsory ahead of the reopening of preschools on June 2, 2020.

The tests commenced on May 15, 2020 and are scheduled to complete by end-May 2020, even over the weekends and Hari Raya Puasa public holiday due to the tight schedule.

Some positive cases expected

During this proactive testing of all staff, it is expected that some positive cases will be identified, ECDA said.

Testing would enable staff who are affected to get the care early.

As part of ongoing measures to keep the coronavirus spread in check, all children and staff who were recently in the preschools at the same time as the preschool staff who had tested positive are issued a 14-day Leave of Absence, as mandated by ECDA as a precautionary measure requirement.

Those who have been issued the LOA are but a small number of children and staff, as preschools are currently providing only limited services, ECDA said.

Contact tracing by the Ministry of Health (MOH) is ongoing.

Close contacts will then be placed on Quarantine Order by the Ministry of Health.

All parents and staff of the relevant preschools are promptly notified whenever there is a confirmed case.

Public understanding required

For the positive cases that have been identified so far, ECDA said it seeks the public’s understanding towards the preschools and staff involved.

As infections can be very mild or asymptomatic, which means there are no visible symptoms, the preschool staff may not be aware that they were unwell, ECDA added.

The current swab test is useful to identify asymptomatic and mild cases ahead of preschool reopening, ECDA said.

ECDA also explained that preschool staff, like many Singaporeans, take pride in a strong work ethic and often worry that taking medical leave may burden other colleagues.

Similarly, parents who have work commitments may want to send their children to preschool even when they exhibit mild symptoms.

ECDA reiterated in its statement that it urges all staff, parents and children to prioritise taking care of themselves and seek medical attention even if mildly unwell.

This is to achieve this mindset of vigilance that can keep preschools safe for all, ECDA said.

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