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Polyclinics, PHPCs revert to regular operating hours as Omicron wave shows signs of subsiding

Polyclinics, PHPCs revert to regular operating hours as Omicron wave shows signs of subsiding

File photo. A healthcare worker wearing PPE at Geylang Polyclinic. (Photo: CNA/Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: Polyclinics and Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) will revert to their regular operating hours from Friday (Mar 11) as the Omicron transmission wave is showing signs of subsiding, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press release on Thursday. 

MOH had previously extended opening hours of selected PHPCs and polyclinics from Feb 25 to Mar 10 to help spread out peak patient load at clinics and polyclinics. 

The return to regular hours will give healthcare workers a much-needed respite from the long operating hours, said MOH.

"We thank our primary care providers for stepping up to support the national effort to cope with the clinical demand from the Omicron surge," said the ministry.

More than 655 PHPCs, of which 15 are 24-hour clinics, will still be open at various times on weekday nights and over the weekends.

MOH also advised members of the public to "call the clinics to confirm the availability and timing of services, particularly for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, and make appointments as needed before heading to the clinics".

Individuals who have tested positive on a self-administered antigen rapid test (ART) and have mild or no symptoms are to self-isolate for at least 72 hours.

If necessary, individuals can book an appointment at any Combined Test Centre (CTC) or Quick Test Centre (QTC) to do a supervised self-administered ART. If they are unwell, they can visit any PHPC via private transport for medical attention.

Additionally, since Feb 26, individuals who test ART positive at Combined Test Centres on weekends can request for a consultation with a telemedicine doctor.

The telemedicine doctors will be able to provide face-to-face video consultations in their place of accommodation, and prescribe and deliver medication if need be.

The testing and consultations will be funded by the Government until Mar 20.

The booking of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) testing and telemedicine consultation appointments on weekends at the Combined Test Centres can be made at go.gov.sg/ari-weekend-testing.

MOH also said that non-emergency patients who walk into emergency departments in hospitals may be diverted to other clinics for further assessment, so as to prioritise resources for patients who need urgent medical care.

"We appeal to individuals not to rush to a hospital emergency department unless they are experiencing an emergency ... We seek everyone’s continued effort and cooperation to do our part to preserve healthcare resources for those who need them most," MOH said.

Singapore on Thursday reported 16,165 new COVID-19 cases, down from 17,051 new infections on Wednesday.

There were six fatalities reported on Thursday, taking the death toll from coronavirus complications to 1,116.

The weekly infection growth rate was 0.93, lower than the 0.94 on Wednesday. A number below 1 indicates that the number of new weekly COVID-19 cases is falling.

Singapore has recorded 901,758 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

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Source: CNA/fh

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