SINGAPORE, Sept 10 — Eligible fully vaccinated individuals infected with Covid-19, such as those who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, will have to stay home as they recover from the illness, starting from Wednesday (September 15).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) in announcing this new healthcare protocol in a statement on Friday said that a pilot for this arrangement, which started on Aug 30, had yielded positive results with 21 individuals enrolled and nine discharged as of September 9.
In addition to this new arrangement, since September 7 fully vaccinated Covid-19 cases have been discharged after seven days, down from 14 days if they have undetectable or very low viral loads, as 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,” said MOH.
Elaborating on the new home recovery measures, MOH’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak said at a press conference today that it is important that hospital beds are allocated to those who “truly need medical attention”, especially when case numbers rise.
He said 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 ICU (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 dormitory residents due to the larger risk of transmission “given their cohorted living arrangements”.
In elaborating on the home recovery pilot, MOH said that infected individuals 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 individual must also be fully vaccinated and not belong to any vulnerable groups, such as the elderly or immunocompromised.
Infected individuals were given “care packs” to monitor their symptoms and given round-the-clock access to telemedicine support if they require medical assistance.
MOH added that given the requests it has received, parents will also now be allowed to bring their children who have been infected with Covid-19, if they are at least five years old and do not have comorbidities or underlying illnesses.
For these children, the hospital will first assess if they are clinically fit for home recovery, before they are sent back home to recover.
“We have been careful and admitting children to hospitals to provide them with dedicated medical care,” said MOH.
“However, we will now allow and encourage parents to bring their infected children home.” — TODAY