Singapore

TTSH reopens on stronger footing, admits it cannot eliminate all risks

While it has better defences, hospital says it cannot eliminate all risks

As Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) progressively reopened for admissions yesterday, it said it has strengthened defences but acknowledged it will never be able to eliminate all risks.

"The risks to our front-line healthcare workers continue to be real and present," said the hospital in a Facebook post yesterday morning.

"Even with aggressive testing and monitoring, we can reduce but never eliminate all risks."

Following a surge in Covid-19 community cases at TTSH, the hospital said it has worked with the Ministry of Health to contain the cluster - which has 46 cases as at Monday - to protect patients and staff.

The hospital added that it will ramp up support for ongoing community transmission.

On Monday, TTSH announced the move to resume admissions two weeks after it stopped admitting patients due to the virus cluster. "The last case of exposure in our wards was more than two weeks ago," the hospital said that day.

Since then, the cases reported were already under active surveillance in isolation at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, or in 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.

When The Straits Times visited the accident and emergency unit, there were about five people at 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 to critically ill patients and those seeking medical treatment in the emergency department are also allowed.

Ms Lim Hwee San, who is in her 40s, was at the hospital to accompany her mother who had broken her wrist after a fall.

When asked if 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 retiree who gave her name only as Mrs Toh, 70, was relieved that her husband's appointments would not have to be rescheduled again.

He was scheduled for a CT colon scan in February, but it was cancelled twice as he had been feeling unwell.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

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