As a precautionary measure to protect seniors living in care facilities, workers in residential care facilities will need to move into their respective places of employment or be assigned to stay in hotels, said Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Desmond Lee on Friday, May 8, 2020.
All staff in care facilities to stay on-site or in hotels
While death rates are low in Singapore, seniors aged above 60 have formed 95 per cent of Covid-19 deaths here.
412 confirmed cases were aged 60 and above, and close to one in six seniors who tested positive for Covid-19 required intensive care in the hospital.
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said there will be enhanced safeguards for seniors, such as the testing of all nursing home staff and residents, and for all nursing home staff to stay at on-site facilities or hotels.
Lee shared that 700 staff working in MSF-funded homes have been arranged to stay on-site, while 400 will move to hotels.
About 3,000 are in the process of moving into hotels.
The staff members will not be able to go home, but can interact with their families electronically.
They will need to live within designated facilities until the end of the circuit breaker period.
"I'm deeply appreciative to the staff of the residential homes for this big sacrifice, for staying away from family, and for putting the well-being and welfare of the senior residents above their own," Lee added.
All nursing home staff & residents to be tested for Covid-19
As of May 2, 2020, MSF has completed the swabbing of 4,600 staff and residents from 34 homes funded by the ministry, of which 3,200 are residents 1,300 are staff members, Lee said.
Most results have come back negative.
Visitors have not been allowed on-site since April 3, 2020, since enhanced circuit breaker measures were introduced.
On April 27, 2020, MOH had announced a cluster that had emerged in Acacia Home, a welfare home for destitute persons, 13 of which were residents and two were staff members.
All nursing home staff and residents will be tested for Covid-19 by June 2020, said Gan.
"Testing is an important strategy to detect Covid-19 infections amongst our vulnerable groups as early as possible to limit further transmission," Gan added.
Top image via Lee Ah Mooi/Parex Group