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Nursing homes to receive antigen rapid test kits by next week

SINGAPORE – All nursing homes should receive antigen rapid test (ART) kits by next week, in a move to allow more frequent Covid-19 testing.

The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 16) that the stepped-up testing will allow any infection to be detected earlier.

Nursing homes are already familiar with the use of the kits, it added.

This comes as more nursing homes are seeing Covid-19 clusters, with Orange Valley Nursing Home in Simei and Jamiyah Nursing Home in West Coast added to the list on Wednesday.

The other two affected are Ren Ci nursing home in Bukit Batok, and All Saints Home in Jurong East.

According to figures available on Friday morning , the Orange Valley home had 14 cases, Ren Ci had 34, the Jamiyah home 13, and All Saints Home 12.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said there were 42 Covid-19 cases detected across 18 aged-care facilities and providers in the last two weeks.

To reduce the spread of Covid-19 in such facilities, all in-person visits to residential care homes were suspended from Monday to Oct 11.

MOH said: “We will also be strengthening the testing regime for both staff and residents of aged-care facilities, and will use ART more frequently, to complement the current surveillance testing in these settings.”

Nursing homes affected by a shortage of staff as a result of quarantine orders will also be supported with additional manpower, AIC said.

As at Thursday, transmission among staff and residents had been detected in three of the four nursing home clusters. At least 14 staff across the three nursing homes have been infected.

The Covid-19 booster dose exercise for residents started on Wednesday, conducted by mobile vaccination teams. Vaccinated residents who have reached the six-month mark after their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will be offered the booster dose.

AIC also urged all next-of-kin of unvaccinated residents in nursing homes to have their loved ones vaccinated as soon as possible.

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