SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry's director of medical services has described a slight decrease in the number of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases in the intensive care unit (ICU) as a “promising trend” that provides a "slight reprieve".
Speaking at a COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference on Monday (Nov 15), Associate Professor Kenneth Mak said the ratio of active COVID-19 cases in the ICU in the past week over the week before was 0.94, “a small decrease in the number of cases in the ICU”.
He added that the overall number of active COVID-19 cases who were critically ill, intubated in the ICU or who were unstable and needed close monitoring was 121 as of Sunday, while there were 132 non-COVID-19 cases who were critically ill in the ICU.
The overall ICU utilisation rate was about 63.3 per cent, he said.
“It provides a slight reprieve, but we will need to see and watch the figures closely over the next few weeks to see if the trend is sustained,” he said.
If that were to happen, Assoc Prof Mak said he looked forward to hospitals allowing more employees to take leave and get a "well-earned rest".
In the latest figures provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday night, as of noon on Monday, 51 cases were unstable and under close monitoring in the ICU and 72 were critically ill and intubated. The overall ICU utilisation rate was 63.6 per cent.
HIGHER PROPORTION OF UNVACCINATED IN ICU
At the press conference on Monday, Assoc Prof Mak also said that while Singapore’s ICU capacity at this time remains sufficient to accommodate all severe cases, statistics showed that the benefits of vaccination among the elderly were clear.
Pointing to the seven-day moving average of active COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population - for those above the age of 60 years who are critically ill and intubated in the ICU - he said the proportion of cases who were not fully vaccinated “remains high” compared to those who were fully vaccinated.
For those older than 70, there were 45.8 per 100,000 who are not fully vaccinated, compared to 6.4 per 100,000 who were fully vaccinated.
For those between 60 and 69 years of age, 49.7 per 100,000 were not fully vaccinated, compared to 2.6 per 100,000, who were fully vaccinated, he added.
When considering the seven-day moving average for death per 100,000 population among those above 70 years old, the death rate was 13.7 per 100,000 in the group not fully vaccinated, compared to 1.6 in the fully vaccinated group, Assoc Prof Mak said.