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Default home recovery for eligible fully vaccinated individuals infected with Covid-19 to free up hospital beds: MOH

SINGAPORE — Eligible fully vaccinated individuals infected with Covid-19 such as those who have no or mild symptoms will have to stay home as they recover from the illness, starting from Wednesday (Sept 15).

Default home recovery for eligible fully vaccinated individuals infected with Covid-19 to free up hospital beds: MOH

Covid-19 patients recovering from home will be equipped with care packs to monitor their symptoms and given access to 24/7 telemedicine support if they require any medical assistance.

  • A pilot for home recovery, which started on Aug 30, has yielded positive outcomes
  • This new arrangement will begin on Wednesday (Sept 15)
  • Since Sept 7, fully vaccinated individuals may be discharged as early as seven days into their illness 
  • Children will also be eligible for home care but will be assessed at hospitals first before being cleared for such an arrangement

 

SINGAPORE — Eligible fully vaccinated individuals infected with Covid-19 such as those who have no or mild symptoms will have to stay home as they recover from the illness, starting from Wednesday (Sept 15).  

In announcing this new healthcare protocol on Friday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that a pilot for this arrangement, which started on Aug 30, had yielded positive results with 21 patients enrolled and nine discharged as of Sept 9. 

Aside from this, since Sept 7, fully vaccinated Covid-19 patients have been discharged after seven days, down from 14 days, if they have undetectable or very low viral loads. This is because there is evidence that vaccinated individuals recover faster than unvaccinated cases.

Unvaccinated persons, however, will continue to be discharged only 14 days into their illness. 

“This will allow us to better prioritise our healthcare capacity for treating serious cases, as well as for other healthcare needs,” MOH said.

Elaborating on the new home recovery measures, MOH’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak said at a press conference on Friday that it is important that hospital beds are allocated to those who “truly need medical attention”, especially when case numbers rise.

He said that the authorities have taken precautionary measures by instructing hospitals to put some of the reserve beds that they have on standby, “in case we really do need those additional intensive care unit beds”. 

“(We) also instructed all our hospitals to defer non-urgent active clinical services, in anticipation for possible further surge in a number of patients requiring hospital based care,” he said. 

MOH said that the home recovery scheme will be progressively extended to individuals up to 50 years old with no significant comorbidities or underlying illnesses. 

“This is because these individuals are generally well with no or mild symptoms and are able to self-care at home,” said MOH. 

Once notified of their positive Covid-19 result, these individuals should immediately isolate themselves at home. 

MOH said, however, that these new protocols will not apply to residents of workers dormitories due to the larger risk of transmission “given their cohorted living arrangements”. 

Elaborating on the home recovery pilot, the ministry said that infected persons were allowed to recover at home provided that they have a suitable home setting where they can be isolated from the rest of their household. 

The household members of the infected person must also be fully vaccinated and not belong to any vulnerable groups such as seniors or the immunocompromised.

Patients were given “care packs” to monitor their symptoms and given round-the-clock access to telemedicine support if they require medical assistance.

For children who have been infected with Covid-19 and hospitalised, MOH said that given the requests that it has received, parents will now be allowed to take the children home if they are at least five years old and do not have comorbidities or underlying illnesses.

Thee hospital will first assess if the children are clinically fit for home recovery before they are discharged. 

“We have been careful and admitting children to hospitals to provide them with dedicated medical care,” MOH said.  

“However, we will now allow and encourage parents to take their infected children home.”

 

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