An Indian national who died of heart disease in Singapore earlier this week tested positive for Coronavirus posthumously, the Ministry of Health told the media on Thursday. The 44-year-old male, who was Singapore's case number 39327, sought medical attention from a general practitioner with complaints of chest and epigastric pain on May 28. However, on June 8, he fell unconscious at his residence and was rushed to the emergency department of Singapore General Hospital. He was later pronounced dead the same day, as per MOH's press release.
After the migrant worker's demise, a COVID-19 test was conducted and he tested positive. However, this was Singapore's ninth such case where the death was not added to the COVID-19 fatality tally as the virus didn't cause this.
"Only cases where the attending doctor or pathologist attributes the primary or underlying cause of death as due to COVID-19 infection will be added to the COVID-19 death count. This is consistent with international practice for classifying deaths," MOH said in the press release.
While doctors in other countries have witnessed an increased risk of COVID-19 for patients with underlying cardiovascular and blood clots conditions, Singapore's Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that authorities failed to "definitively conclude" if that was the case in the city-state.
In the country, only one out of 1,000 COVID-19 patients experienced "cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and blood clots", Yong said in the Parliament last week. However, doctors in Singapore were issued an advisory on May 20 to be "watchful" of cardiovascular symptoms in Coronavirus patients.
Kenneth Mak, MOH's Director of Medical Services, said that ministry's approach is to check if the deaths could be directly attributed to complications due to COVID-19 infection. The MOH would then add such cases to the official death toll as per international practice.
"Even if they were not due to COVID-19 infection then they would be reported still, but we will not necessarily ascribe them to COVID-19 unless we have been informed by the medical authorities, whether the doctors attending to the patient or the coroner if these were made coroners' cases," Mak told media.
In the Republic, migrant workers and dormitories they live in have been the major concerns for the authorities. On June 11, Singapore reported 422 new cases of Coronavirus including five community transmissions while 416 of them resided in dorms.