Q.W.FONG1, D.E.J.SEAH1, S.LAW1, H.L.KOH1, E.S.LEE1, L.LEE2, J.J.J.YEO2, J.K.L.LUM3, Y.J.MOK1, E.S.W.ANG4
NHG Polyclinics1, Tan Tock Seng Hospital2, OMF International3, Farrer Park Hospital4
In March 2020, COVID-19 was progressively transmitted amongst migrant workers staying in purpose-built dormitories (PBDs) and threatened to overwhelm Singapore’s healthcare resources. Forward Medical Posts (FMPs) were set up at all PBDs to provide essential healthcare to these migrant workers, contain the outbreak, and mitigate the strain on the healthcare system.
We described the clinical presentation of 645 migrant workers who presented to our FMP at a dormitory housing about 8,000 migrant workers. This was an observational study describing all migrant workers who presented to the FMP with medical complaints between 15th April to 1st June 2020. Data were obtained from written medical records retrospectively, and included demographic information, clinical features, and vital signs.
During the study period, 407 out of 645 migrant workers who presented to the FMP tested positive for COVID-19. Acute respiratory symptoms (ARI) and fever were prominent presenting complaints. Those with cough of less than three days duration, increased temperature and pulse rates were significantly more likely to be COVID-19 positive. Non-ARI manifestations of COVID-19 included gastrointestinal symptoms, anosmia, and skin rash.
As symptoms of COVID-19 were similar to those of many other common illnesses, access to point-of-care testing to confirm the presence or absence of COVID-19 was a vital part of the overall containment strategy. The identification of prominent symptoms of COVID-19 enabled prioritised testing in times of resource limitation during an outbreak amongst thousands living in close proximity.