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MOH urges people to go to emergency department only for serious conditions after jump in visits

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is urging people not to visit the emergency department except for serious or life-threatening emergencies after a jump in visits to these wards by adults and children in the past two weeks.

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is urging people not to visit the emergency department except for serious or life-threatening emergencies after a jump in visits to these wards by adults and children in the past two weeks.

In a press release on Friday (July 22), MOH said that about 40 per cent of patients at emergency departments did not require emergency care.

Public hospitals' adult emergency departments have handled on average about 2,500 patients a day in the past two weeks, up from 2,000 patients, it added.

The children’s emergency departments at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and National University Hospital have also seen a spike in patients in the past fortnight.

There were on average about 680 patients daily across both departments, up from the usual average of about 450 a day, a jump of more than 50 per cent.

The announcement came after two children died from Covid-19 — a four-year-old on July 17, and an 18-month-old on June 27. The MOH release did not link the rise in attendances to these deaths.

The ministry said: “We would like to remind the public to only seek medical treatment at hospital emergency departments for serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, breathlessness and uncontrollable bleeding.

“This allows those with severe illness in need of emergency care to be attended to quickly and helps to preserve our hospital capacity for those who truly need acute hospital care.”

MOH also announced that people aged under 80 who wish to get their Covid-19 vaccinations at a polyclinic will now need to make an appointment in advance.

This is because at polyclinics, there has been a significant jump in patients with acute respiratory infection, some of which have Covid-19.

“To preserve our polyclinics’ capacity for patients with pressing healthcare needs, individuals who wish to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations at the polyclinics will now have to book an appointment,” it added.

However, seniors aged 80 and above can continue to walk in to receive their vaccinations at polyclinics.

Appointments will not be required at any of the 10 joint testing and vaccination centres island-wide.

MOH will be increasing access to the Nuvaxovid vaccine, developed by American firm Novavax, offering it at Jurong Polyclinic and Yishun Polyclinic from Aug 12. 

The two polyclinics, which now offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, will continue to do so until Aug 5.

“Eligible individuals who wish to receive the Nuvaxovid vaccine may also continue to do so at the joint testing and vaccination centre in Bishan and 20 public health preparedness clinics,” it said.

Nuvaxovid has been offered here since May 18. The Health Sciences Authority said that of the 2,792 doses administered between the roll-out and May 31, there have only been four reports of "non-serious adverse events" or side effects such as dizziness, rash, vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) and chest pain. 

"These are largely consistent with what was reported in the clinical studies and are known adverse effects associated with vaccines," the authority said then.

Related topics

MOH emergency department Covid-19 hospital polyclinic Nuvaxovid Novavax vaccination

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