Singapore says ‘remaining vigilant and on high alert’ as Covid cases spike | World News - Hindustan Times

Singapore says ‘remaining vigilant and on high alert’ as Covid cases spike

Dec 11, 2023 10:26 PM IST

Singapore Coronavirus: Singapore has seen an increase in COVID-19 infections over the past two weeks.

Singapore hospitals are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country closely and are ready to increase their capacity if needed following a recent wave of infections, hospital authorities said on Monday.

Singapore Coronavirus: Shoppers ride an escalator on Orchard Road in Singapore.(Bloomberg)
Singapore Coronavirus: Shoppers ride an escalator on Orchard Road in Singapore.(Bloomberg)

Singapore has seen an increase in COVID-19 infections over the past two weeks.

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According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), the estimated number of COVID-19 cases in the week of November 26 to December 2 rose to 32,035, compared with 22,094 cases in the previous week.

While MOH noted that the numbers of hospitalisations and intensive care unit (ICU) cases are not as high as they were during the pandemic, and there is no indication that the variants circulating locally are more transmissible or cause more severe disease, the rise in cases has added to the workload at hospitals, which are already busy.

The National University Health System (NUHS) said in a statement that it is monitoring the situation together with its three hospitals -- the National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, and Alexandra Hospital.

"We continue to remain vigilant and maintain surge capacity in our inpatient facilities, including our intensive care and isolation facilities," Channel News Asia quoted a NUHS spokesperson as saying.

"We are doing our best to optimise resources and will adjust our response to meet changing needs accordingly."

The spokesperson said the daily COVID-19 hospitalisations and ICU case numbers seen at the three NUHS hospitals have "remained stable".

"Elective procedures are not affected at the moment," the spokesperson added.

SingHealth -- which operates several hospitals, national specialty centres, and polyclinics -- also "remains vigilant and on high alert" for any new developments in Singapore's COVID-19 situation.

SingHealth deputy group CEO Fong Kok Yong said its hospitals were well-prepared to increase capacity to care for COVID-19 patients as necessary.

"Our clinical and operation teams continue to monitor the situation closely, and we will proactively respond as and when the need arises," Fong said.

Fong, who heads SingHealth's medical and clinical services division, said the group's institutions had active measures in place to optimise hospital capacity, including same-day admission, the use of day surgeries, and other initiatives to reduce the length of stay.

These include pre-operative rehabilitation and the early mobilisation of post-surgery patients for their quicker recovery, Fong said.

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NUHS similarly said it will redeploy and increase manpower to better support high attendance at its emergency departments, where necessary.

"Our triage process includes having a senior emergency physician review the cases for hospital admission, to ensure the appropriate right-siting and avoid unnecessary admission," the NUHS spokesperson said.

Alternative arrangements, "where clinically appropriate", are also being offered.

This includes the NUHS@Home recovery programme, teleconsultation, telerehabilitation, telemonitoring, remote prescribing, and delivery of medication.

"We seek the public's understanding that longer waiting time may be expected at our emergency departments and priority will be given to patients with more serious conditions and who require admission," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that only people with serious or life-threatening emergencies – such as chest pain, breathlessness, and uncontrollable bleeding – should visit the emergency department as this allows those in need of emergency care to be attended to quickly and helps to preserve hospital capacity for those who truly need acute hospital care.

"We urge members of the public to visit their general practitioners or a 24-hour clinic for non-emergencies," the spokesperson said.

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