SINGAPORE: Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) ambulances have conveyed a total of 219 suspected COVID-19 cases as of 8am on Wednesday (Feb 12), a SCDF spokesperson said.
The majority of these calls, within the timeframe of about a month, were made by members of the public, while some came from general practitioners and polyclinics.
Also announced on Wednesday: All SCDF ambulance crew will now don full personal protective equipment (PPE) while attending to all cases.
While ambulance crew were already donning PPE when dealing with suspected COVD-19 cases prior to Singapore’s risk assessment being raised DORSCON Orange, these new guidelines now apply to all medical cases, said SCDF.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to the SCDF headquarters where he met personnel who have responded to the novel coronavirus cases, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin urged the public not to be alarmed if they see SCDF ambulance crew in PPE.
“(The Government) has taken certain measures. One of the measures is we have raised the DORSCON level ... And as a result, all emergency medical crew will be wearing personal protective equipment,” he said.
“This is required of them. The public should not be alarmed, they will be wearing PPE when responding to all calls, not just responding to a suspect novel coronavirus (case).”
Currently, the SCDF operations centre triages cases, with operators checking whether callers display possible symptoms as well as have a travel history to China.
If they suspect a COVID-19 case, this particular information will be conveyed to the ambulance crew. Members of the ambulance crew will then make a phone call to the suspected case to further confirm this information.
After conveying the suspect case to the hospital, a device will be used to decontaminate the ambulance - with the process lasting about 20 minutes while the crew removes and disposes their PPE.
“We have been preparing for this situation, we have got people on standby, we are managing quite OK,” added Mr Amrin, when asked about how the SCDF has coped so far.
Singapore reported two more confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had said in a daily update.
One had worked at the same location as another Bangladeshi coronavirus patient, the other is a Singapore permanent resident who lives in Johor Bahru and works at Resorts World Sentosa Casino.
This brings the number of cases in Singapore to 47, with seven in critical condition.
Two more patients - cases 17 and 36 - were discharged from hospital on Tuesday, meaning nine have now fully recovered from the virus.