SINGAPORE – The present Covid-19 an infection wave, which has been pushed by the Omicron variant BA.5, is more likely to subside additional this week, mentioned Well being Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Aug 1).
Talking in Parliament, Mr Ong mentioned that whereas the nation continues to be in the course of the an infection wave, an infection numbers have been falling over the previous 10 days and the week-on-week ratio has dipped under 0.9 during the last week.
The week-on-week an infection ratio refers back to the ratio of neighborhood instances for the previous week, over the week earlier than. A ratio of under one exhibits that the variety of new weekly Covid-19 instances is reducing.
Mr Ong famous that Singapore didn’t should tighten social restrictions through the present wave, permitting most individuals to go about their lives as per regular.
“Nonetheless, life shouldn’t be as regular in our hospitals… Our healthcare system is bearing the brunt of the present wave. Healthcare staff have been very busy. Polyclinics and our normal practitioner clinics additionally noticed larger affected person volumes,” he mentioned.
Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) requested about measures to assist the healthcare system deal with the spike in sufferers, in addition to whether or not there have been plans to assist the telemedicine sector right here in order to cut back the variety of sufferers at clinics.
In response, Mr Ong mentioned that the Authorities is selling using telemedicine for gentle Covid-19 instances, and that that is now extra accepted than prior to now.
However he added: “Even so, we should be reasonable that in a giant an infection wave, the healthcare system will come below stress… Ready instances at non-public clinics, polyclinics (and) hospitals will inevitably go up, and I search the persistence and understanding of residents.”
In such a scenario, the secret’s to make sure that hospitals are usually not overwhelmed, and that those that want pressing care could be attended to promptly – one thing that the healthcare system has typically been capable of obtain to date, mentioned Mr Ong.
Responding to a query from Mr Louis Chua (Sengkang GRC) on the mattress capability of hospitals that’s at the moment in use and has been put aside for Covid-19 instances, Mr Ong mentioned that primarily based on the worst-case situation projection for the present wave, the Authorities has plans to put aside as much as about 1,000 beds for such sufferers.
He added: “It is a dynamic plan and, luckily, in the midst of this an infection wave, we didn’t should activate all of those beds.”
Mr Ong later clarified that the determine doesn’t embrace beds in non-public hospitals, which have a number of hundred extra beds that may be stood up for Covid-19 sufferers.
He added that it’s fairly frequent for hospitals right now to have 90 per cent mattress occupancy, not from Covid-19 sufferers however because of these searching for remedy for different situations.
Mr Ong mentioned that the Authorities has eased the workload of hospitals by transferring lower-risk sufferers to Covid-19 remedy services, and discharging long-staying sufferers to neighborhood care services equivalent to nursing properties.
“Many of those services and providers are run by non-public or social sector suppliers and we’re deeply appreciative of them for doing this work,” he mentioned.
He famous that in contrast with the final Omicron wave, the switch processes are actually smoother, and sufferers and their households are additionally extra understanding when hospitals should make the transfers.
This has allowed extra transfers to be made than over the past an infection wave earlier this yr, and it has made a major distinction, mentioned Mr Ong.
Hospitals have additionally reduce down on their “business-as-usual” workload with a view to handle the demand for beds.
Mr Ong mentioned that through the present wave, hospitals have decreased such workload by about 5 per cent, most of which contain elective surgical procedure.
Whereas he acknowledged that that is “not ideally suited”, Mr Ong mentioned that that is lower than the 15 per cent reduce through the earlier Omicron wave.
Hospitals additionally restricted, however didn’t droop, visits to sufferers.
He added that the go away of healthcare staff was not suspended, permitting them to take breaks and fly again to their residence international locations to see their households – a transfer that was key in sustaining their morale.
Responding to Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang), who requested about hospital-acquired Covid-19 infections, Mr Ong mentioned that absenteeism in hospitals has been about 2 per cent through the present wave, and has not contributed to a mattress crunch.
“So far as we will decide, whereas there had been some transmission inside hospitals, general hospital-acquired Covid-19 an infection has been low, and really possible decrease than community-acquired infections. And that is due to good an infection management measures in hospitals,” he mentioned.