S.SADARANGANI1, J. TAN1, P.H. LEE1, H. HO1, R. DALAN1, A. CHOW1, LG. CHAN1, T. UMAPATHI2, S. VASOO1
Tan Tock Seng Hospital1, National Neuroscience Institute2
The COVID-19 pandemic unmasked systematic inequities amongst migrants globally. Similarly, in Singapore, our migrant workers (MW) were disproportionately impacted. Migrant workers live in dense conditions and had limited health insurance that did not cover outpatient management of acute or chronic illness.
We performed a retrospective cross-sectional study of all MWs with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) during April 1-April 30, 2020, the peak of the MW outbreak. We describe the prevalence of chronic diseases and impact on COVID-19 infection using data from electronic medical records.
2,498 male MWs with confirmed COVID-19 were included. Median age was 34 years (IQR 29-40). The majority (> 90%) had originated from South Asia and lived in dormitories. 247 (9.8%) had at least one chronic disease; 99 (4.0%) had diabetes mellitus, newly diagnosed in 22 (22.2%), 69 (2.8%) had dyslipidemia, newly diagnosed in 26 (37.7%), and 135 (5.4%) had hypertension, newly diagnosed in 21 (15.5%). While 278 (11.1%) had pneumonia, only 16 (0.6%) required oxygen or intensive/high-dependency care, with no mortality.
Our study shows a significant burden of chronic disease in MWs. While comparison has limitations, the prevalence of self-reported chronic diseases in Singapore for ages 30-39 is relatively lower, specifically 0.9% (overall) for diabetes, 5.3% (in men) for hypertension, and 3.2% (in men) for hyperlipidemia (National Population Health Survey, 2019). Although MWs had favourable COVID-19 medical outcomes during their acute illness, our study demonstrates possible health disparities which should be addressed by health policies.