Nowadays, it appears that “TTSH” is the trending term.
Though instead of standing for something like “TikTok Singapore Hurrah”, it’s something more familiar: “Tan Tock Seng Hospital”.
Or to be exact, the TTSH cluster.
So lest you’re unaware, a “leak” in medical defenses has created a pretty big COVID-19 cluster at the hospital.
As of the time of writing, there are 35 COVID-19 cases linked to the TTSH cluster, making it the largest out of our nine active clusters currently.
One 88-year-old patient has since passed away due to the virus.
So you can kinda get why TTSH would be trending nowadays.
And why it has kind of become a taboo in the hospitality industry, with other local hospitals shutting its doors on anyone affiliated with TTSH in recent times…
Everything About the New Arrangements & Restrictions in Hospitals & Polyclinics Due to TTSH Cluster
According to several sources, including news reports and the Ministry of Health (MOH), the hospital clusters at TTSH have led hospitals to implement new arrangements and restrictions, in a bid to guard themselves against a possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Entry restrictions, for instance, have been imposed on those who visited TTSH’s inpatient wards from 18 April 2021 onwards.
These can include patients, visitors, caregivers, or even accompanying personnel.
Seven hospitals, three community hospitals, and a private hospital have all implemented the restrictions over the weekend.
These hospitals are as follows:
- Alexandra Hospital
- Changi General Hospital (CGH)
- JurongHealth Campus
- National University Hospital (NUH)
- KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)
- Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH)
- Singapore General Hospital (SGH)
- Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital (AMK-THKH)
- St Andrew’s Community Hospital (SACH)
- Yishun Community Hospital (YCH)
- Thomson Medical
The restrictions were officially imposed on 2 May at Alexandra Hospital, NUH, and JurongHealth Campus, the last of which accommodates Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) and Jurong Community Hospital (JCH).
As for CGH, KKH, and SGH, restrictions are said to have been in place since Saturday (1 May).
Personnel who visited TTSH’s inpatient wards from 18 April 2021 will be denied access to the aforementioned places.
What About the Others?
According to CNA, other hospitals and polyclinics have requested for affiliated personnel to declare any visits upon visit.
That is to say, if they had visited TTSH’s inpatient wards from 18 April 2021, they will have to inform other hospitals about it.
The National Healthcare Group, which runs TTSH as well as polyclinics in Ang Mo Kio, Geylang, Hougang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands, and Yishun, has asked affiliated personnel to inform their staff members upon visit.
Meanwhile, SingHealth, which runs polyclinics in Bedok, Bukit Merah, Marine Parade, Outram, Pasir Ris, Punggol, Sengkang, and Tampines, has tweaked its online visitor’s declaration form to include visits to TTSH from 18 April.
Several private hospitals too have made a similar decision.
Gleneagles Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and Parkway East Hospital, all run by Parkway Hospitals, have requested affiliated visitors to make declarations.
Thus far, four wards have been locked down at TTSH.
All close contacts of identified cases have also been quarantined.
Inpatients, who are at possible risk of developing fever and ARI symptoms, have also been placed under clinical surveillance.
The transition of healthcare workers into TTSH will be restricted as well, with healthcare student postings and non-essential trainings suspended indefinitely.
Visitors who visited TTSH from 18 April will also be applicable for free testing. The costs will be entirely borne by the government.
From 3 May to 16 May, individuals can apply for a COVID-19 PCR test at any of the following places:
- Former Da Qiao Primary School, 8 Ang Mo Kio Street 54, Singapore 569185
- Former Shuqun Secondary School, 450 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore 609604
- Former Coral Primary School, 20 Pasir Ris Street 51, Singapore 518902
- Former Bishan Park Secondary School, 2 Sin Ming Walk Singapore 575565
In addition, all staff members at TTSH have undergone testing.
Non–life-threatening Accident and Emergency (A&E) cases have also been directed to other hospitals unless absolutely necessary.
For months, Singapore had boasted a largely low rate of community cases and infections. They have also explored possible travel bubbles, with the Hong Kong-Singapore bubble set to go ahead.
But 27 April 2021 may just have changed everything. On that day, it was revealed that a nurse at TTSH had been infected.
Apparently, the 46-year-old nurse had already received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Also, likely infections were found in a doctor and three other patients after a test.
After months of rest and progress, a cluster may have formed to undo it all. The coronavirus sure isn’t giving anyone time to relax.
Following news of the first hospital cluster here, doctors, directors and authoritative figures all rushed to cushion the impact. Cases were swiftly warded, close contacts were identified and quarantined, and places where cases have visited recently were quickly closed for cleaning.
But it just wasn’t Barry Allen fast.
By 29 April 2021, 16 new community cases were reported. A second ward was subsequently locked down.
By 3 May, the cluster was at 35 cases. Two more wards were locked down.
During this time, an 88-year-old woman who was linked to the hospital passed away. She is reportedly Singapore’s 31st COVID-19 death, and the first to die from COVID-19 in over a month.
According to the hospital, she spent her last moments alone in an isolation room.
“Special arrangements were made for her family to video conference her and visit her from outside her isolation room,” the hospital stated.
To think that she had to face her darkest moment alone even when her family members were ready and available… truly, what a scary disease COVID-19 is.
As such, please practice precaution while outside, and try to avoid more than two social gatherings a day.
Also, you’re encouraged to:
- Avoid going to crowded places, and stay home where possible
- Limit social gatherings to 2 per day in total, whether to another household or in a public place
- Keep groups as small as possible
- Stick to a regular group of contacts
- Stay home when unwell, and see a doctor to get tested when sick and be vaccinated when it is offered to you
We’ve beat down the virus before; surely, we can do it again.
Feature Image: Miguel Vidal / Shutterstock.com