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Visits to all hospital wards to cease for 2 weeks amid rise in COVID-19 community cases: MOH

Visits to all hospital wards to cease for 2 weeks amid rise in COVID-19 community cases: MOH

An overview of the new Changi General Hospital medical centre. (Photo: Changi General Hospital)

SINGAPORE: An interim measure to reduce potential COVID-19 transmission in hospitals will see visits to all wards ceased, with some exceptions, from Aug 5 to Aug 18, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Aug 4). 

This comes after more COVID-19 community cases were detected recently, which include staff members and patients of hospitals, said MOH. 

On Tuesday, MOH reported that Changi General Hospital was among one of eight new clusters in Singapore. 

"With proactive and regular testing in the hospital, we have detected three cases of COVID-19 in a ward," said CGH in a Facebook post.

READ: 98 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Singapore; new cluster at Changi General Hospital

"These cases are not linked to the previous CGH cluster which has been officially closed by Ministry of Health on Jul 31." That cluster, which had 20 cases, was closed after no cases were linked to it for 28 days.

On Wednesday, MOH said that new measures will be put in place following a detection of cases. 

"Any detection of cases within a hospital will invariably lead to a ward closure, limiting movements of patients and staff in and out of the affected ward," said the ministry. Affected patients and staff will also be placed on quarantine. 

Such measures, while necessary to control further transmission of the virus, will have an adverse impact on hospitals’ capacity in caring for patients by reducing the availability of hospital staff and bed capacities, said MOH. 

As an interim measure to reduce potential transmission in hospitals, visits will stop from Aug 5 to 18.  

This is except for the patient groups below, who will be allowed visitation on a conditional and case-by-case basis, as assessed by the hospital:

a. Patients whose conditions have turned very ill;

b. Paediatric patients;

c. Birthing/post-partum mothers; and

d. Patients requiring additional care support from caregivers. For example, assistance of inpatients who have mental incapacities and family members who are undergoing caregiver training to better care for their loved ones after hospital discharge.

For such patients, only one visitor is allowed per day with visit duration of no more than 30 minutes at the bedside, said MOH. 

For patients who are very ill, up to five pre-designated visitors may be registered, with a maximum of two visitors at the patient’s bedside at any one time of no more than 30 minutes visit duration.

READ: MOH apologises for delays and lapses after confusion over COVID-19 quarantine orders

Any visitor who requires to stay beyond 30 minutes such as caregiver training, will only be allowed after the visitor tests negative on a supervised antigen rapid test, where the validity of the result of this test is 24 hours. 

MOH added that all visitors to the hospitals must don face masks with good filtration capability at all times. 

"These include reusable masks that are made of two layers of fabrics, and surgical masks."

The ministry reminded that there must be no eating or drinking in the inpatient wards, and visitors must not use the patients’ toilets in the wards and should avoid sitting on beds.

The ministry said that all patients - inpatient and outpatient - who are unvaccinated will be approached by the hospital healthcare team on COVID-19 vaccination if clinically appropriate.

READ: FAQ: What you need to know about COVID-19 quarantine orders

Patients who receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination at the hospital should return to the same hospital for their second dose, said MOH. 

"Vaccinated patients will protect other patients in the hospital and reduce the risk of COVID-19 clusters in the hospitals," it added. 

MOH said it will review the above measures regularly.  

"We seek the understanding and cooperation of all Singaporeans as we make adjustments to protect our patients and hospitals during this transition period towards a COVID-resilient society."

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Source: CNA/ad

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