by BERNAMA / pic by BLOOMBERG
SINGAPORE – Singapore has reported 26,032 new daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday (Feb 22), a new high since the pandemic hit its shores in January 2020.
The republic also reported four fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its nightly data published on its website late Tuesday.
These brought the total caseload for the Island-city to 622,293 and 956 deaths.
In a separate statement, MOH called for public cooperation and assistance as hospitals, polyclinics and General Practitioner (GP) clinics are very busy, and healthcare workers are under severe pressure.
“It may take a few weeks before the transmission wave peaks and subsides,” it said.
It noted that the current situation has resulted in two problems with one of them being a surge in demand for hospital beds, mostly for patients with underlying chronic illnesses to recover.
The ministry said it is doing whatever it can to support the healthcare providers.
These include ramping up capacity in its hospitals, spreading patient load to private hospitals, and supplementing the healthcare manpower with the SG Healthcare Corps as well as Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medics.
“We have also further adjusted our health protocols to allow more patients to be able to recover at home,” it said.
MOH also urged employers not to insist that employees provide medical certificates or recovery memos if they have tested positive for COVID-19.
“They are encouraged to remind employees who are at low risk and have mild symptoms or are physically well to isolate and recover at home instead of visiting clinics or hospitals,” it said.
According to MOH, many patients coming forward to hospitals, polyclinics, and GP clinics have no or mild symptoms.
“They would like to get an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) conducted by a medical professional and documented in MOH’s records or to request for a medical certificate.
“This has added significant workload to our healthcare providers who are already under significant pressure and stress,” it said.
They can submit a photograph of their test results or a video of them taking the ART, it added.
The ministry also encouraged individuals that unless they are experiencing an emergency, not to rush to a hospital emergency department (ED).
“Patients who walk into EDs with non-emergency conditions, including children, may be diverted to other urgent care clinics or primary care clinics for further assessment, so as to prioritise ED resources for patients who need the medical care,” it said.
To help spread out peak patient load at private clinics, MOH said it will also extend the operating hours of Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) with effect from Feb 25 to March 10.
Meanwhile, from Feb 26, the republic’s Combined Test Centres (CTCs) will provide access to telemedicine consultations for symptomatic members during the weekends.
Individuals can also approach MOH-approved telemedicine providers to consult a doctor virtually.
The public may visit flu.gowhere.gov.sg for the list of clinics providing these time-limited extended hours and telemedicine services.