Virus hits Singapore senior home, killing woman and infecting others

A health care worker pushes an elderly woman in a wheelchair. Photo: Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home/Facebook
A health care worker pushes an elderly woman in a wheelchair. Photo: Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home/Facebook

Singapore’s fifth COVID-19 death was an 86-year-old woman who lived at a nursing home where at least 11 other people have taken ill. 

The Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home announced that the woman died there soon after the Health Ministry’s official announcement this morning. She had tested positive Tuesday and was the first case linked to the center at 1 Thomson Lane. 

“We at [Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home] are saddened to learn of the passing of our 86-year-old resident today,” the center’s spokesperson, Kim Yuan, said in the statement posted to Facebook. “We and [the National Centre for Infectious Diseases] are extending our assistance to her family. We seek your understanding during this challenging period for our home.”

Identified as case No. 918, she died at 1:55am this morning. The home’s cover photo has been replaced with a white rose on a black background reading “Our Deepest Condolences.”

Since Feb. 7, Singapore has maintained a threat level of “orange” as the virus continues to spread. Social media is rife with unfounded speculation that level may soon be elevated to red, which would mean mandated work-from-home orders and school closures. 

The cluster centered on the home was worrisome as most of those stricken have been seniors, who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus. A 102-year-old woman also tested positive there Wednesday. 

Retirement homes and senior centers around the world have proven especially vulnerable to outbreaks. Singapore has barred visitors from all nursing homes at least until April 30. 

 

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