The Next Group at Risk of Covid19 - Staff @ Dormitories and Isolation Community Facilities



Community spread has been coming down for the past few weeks.

Excluding the situation in the dormitories, community spread had reduced to a low double-digit average if you take into account Singaporeans, PRs and Work Pass holders. On the bigger picture, if Work Permit Holders living outside dorms are included in the tally, that number would easily triple.



Nonetheless, there is a common perception that the spread has been ringfenced at the dorms. This meant that the spread in the wider community is on the verge of being contained. However, before we celebrate, the most recent details on local community cases shed a light to a threat from a different front - Staff working at Dorms and Isolation Community Facilities.


MOH had released information on local community cases for the first time after a long hiatus. While most cases are linked cases, there are 2 particular cases that caught our eyes. They are case 17845 and 17871, both with links to Dormitories.

Source: MOH

The following day, 2 more cases are reported that have links to dormitories and Isolation Community Sites
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On the latest report, even those working in hospitals are not 100% sheltered from the virus. Given the data, the risk of community spread via those who are working in dorms and isolated community cases cannot be discounted.

Why Dormitories and Isolation Community Staff may have a higher risk

Higher daily frequency contacts
The staff faces higher daily contacts with migrant workers due to the set up of the dormitories. The higher the frequency, the greater the chance of an infection


Unknown risk
Unlike in a hospital setting where the patients with symptoms are known, those working in dorms are coming into contact with workers who are NOT diagnosed as a carrier. Given that asymptomatic carriers post a risk as well, there may be cases of accidental exposure. In addition, the environment is not sterile as compared to a hospital setting. This provides more opportunities for exposure to Covid19.


Untrained Staff
Due to the lack of manpower, volunteers are sought to man certain operations at the dorms. The volunteers may include non-medical staff. Given that they are not professionally trained, lapses are possible in this scenario.





What can be done?
The authorities would probably have a game plan in regards to the safety of staff at the dorms. Additional measures that could be done include

  • Daily monitoring of this group and household members
  • Priority testing to this group of front-liners.
  • If circumstances permit, self-isolation or separate living arrangement may be warranted for this group.


In a nutshell, special attention would be necessary to monitor this group and their households. Given the nature of their roles, the risk is evidently higher. Nonetheless, we salute the courage of the frontline staff. It is not an easy role to undertake given the circumstances and the risk involved. Let's hope that they will be able to protect themselves in these situations.

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