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MOH urges public not to further strain healthcare system, as S'pore reports over 26,000 new Covid-19 cases

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Feb 22) urged members of the public and employers not to further strain the healthcare system as Singapore’s daily Covid-19 cases reached a new high of "over 25,000" cases for the day.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung (centre) during a visit to the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung (centre) during a visit to the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Feb 22) urged members of the public and employers not to further strain the healthcare system as Singapore’s daily Covid-19 cases reached a new high of "over 25,000" cases for the day.

Updated figures on MOH's website later showed that Singapore reported 26,032 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday.

In a statement earlier on Tuesday night, the ministry noted that hospitals, polyclinics and general practitioner (GP) clinics here are "very busy" and healthcare workers are "under severe pressure" as it may take some weeks before the Omicron transmission wave peaks and subsides. 

"This has resulted in two problems," it said.

First, although the number of patients needing oxygen aid and intensive care  is not high, there is a surge in demand for hospital beds, mostly for patients with underlying chronic illnesses to recover.

Second, many patients going to hospitals, polyclinics and GP clinics have no or mild symptoms but would like to get an antigen rapid test conducted by a medical professional and documented in MOH’s records, or to ask for a medical certificate.

"This has added significant workload to our healthcare providers who are already under significant pressure and stress," MOH said.

"Our healthcare service providers will need help and cooperation from employers and members of the public."

MOH added that it is doing whatever it can to support healthcare providers and called on employers not to insist that their employees produce a medical certificate or recovery memos once they have tested positive for Covid-19.

"For the public, we encourage individuals that unless they are experiencing an
emergency, (they should) not to rush to a hospital emergency department." 

In response to the spike in Covid-19 cases here due to the highly infectious Omicron coronavirus strain, those who require medical attention are encouraged to consult a primary care doctor first.

Patients who walk into emergency departments 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 emergency care resources for patients who need them.  

To help spread out peak patient load at private clinics, MOH said that it will extend the operating hours of Public Health Preparedness Clinics with effect from Friday to March 10.

Of these clinics, selected ones across Singapore will operate on weekday nights (up to 11pm), weekend afternoons (Saturdays and Sundays, 2pm to 5pm), and weekend nights (Saturdays and Sundays, up to 11pm).

The Public Health Preparedness Clinic scheme consolidates the primary care clinic response to public health emergencies such as during a pandemic for better management. 

MOH added that selected polyclinics will also be operating on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings.

From Feb 26, Combined Test Centres will also provide access to telemedicine consultations for patients with symptoms who go to these centres for Covid-19 testing during the weekends.

“The telemedicine doctors will be able to provide face-to-face video consultations, and prescribe and deliver medications if need be. The testing and consultations will be funded by the Government during this period,” MOH said.

 

Related topics

Covid-19 MOH Omicron emergency department A&E GP clinic Hospital healthcare

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