Singapore – Two pre-school staff members have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the daily update by the Ministry of Health on Saturday (May 23).
They were tested via a proactive screening programme and were found to be positive on Friday, along with nine other positive community cases.
One is a 24-year-old Philippine national, known as case 30767, who works at PCF Sparkletots @ Gambas. The other is a 54-year-old Singaporean, known as Case 31055, who works at Shaws Preschool @ Lorong Chuan.
As a preventive measure, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has required the pre-schools to enforce a 14-day leave of absence for any child or staff member that may have been in contact with the Covid-19 positive employees. The same rules will be implemented in any other pre-school centre should a staff member test positive.
With schools aiming to reopen in phases from June 2, testing has been going on for some time, having increased in number over the past few weeks. According to ECDA, at least 15,300 pre-school staff swab tested so far have tested negative for the virus, making up at least 99 per cent in total. But it also shared that this number is only “midway through” the testing of all pre-school staff employees.
Despite the generally good outcome, the numbers are still one per cent positive for the disease, along with the possibility of getting higher. The ECDA hopes to complete all testing before the end of the month. It said: “During this proactive testing of all staff, it is expected that some positive cases will be identified.”
The agency said: “Testing would enable staff who are affected to get the care early, so that we can better prepare for the safe return of children and staff to pre-schools,” and added that “even with this proactive testing exercise, new Covid-19 cases may arise and we must continue to stay vigilant through stringent safe management requirements in preschools”.
The ECDA has also requested for the public to be considerate about the two positive pre-school workers, explaining: “As infections can be very mild or asymptomatic (i.e. no visible symptoms), the pre-school staff may not be aware that they were unwell.”
“The test thus is useful to identify asymptomatic and mild cases ahead of pre-school reopening,” it said.
So far, the plans to reopen pre-schools and early intervention centres start with kindergarten children on June 2, followed by nursery levels 1 and 2 on June 8. The reopening for the youngest group of children, in infant care and playgroups, will begin on June 10. /TISG