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BREAKING NEWS
James Rosh  Dec 15, 2023  2 months, 1 week, 2 days, 9 hours, 46 minutes ago

BREAKING News! Surge in COVID-19 Cases Prompts Urgent Measures In Singapore: Second Makeshift Hospital To Open As Weekly Infections Top 56,000!

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BREAKING News! Surge in COVID-19 Cases Prompts Urgent Measures In Singapore: Second Makeshift Hospital To Open As Weekly Infections Top 56,000!
James Rosh  Dec 15, 2023  2 months, 1 week, 2 days, 9 hours, 46 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: In response to a staggering surge in COVID-19 cases over the past week, Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) is intensifying efforts to combat the spread of the virus. The latest data, released on Friday (15 December), revealed a substantial increase in weekly infections, reaching 56,043 cases during the epidemiological week 49.
https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/update-on-local-covid-19-situation-and-measures-to-protect-healthcare-capacity
 
https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/statistics
 


The majority of cases were attributed to the JN.1 variant, a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant's BA.2.86. However, the MOH emphasized that there is currently "no clear indication" suggesting these variants are more transmissible or result in more severe illness compared to other circulating variants.
 
Urgent Measures and Recommendations
In light of the escalating situation, MOH is taking immediate steps to address the surge in cases and ensure public safety. Firstly, the ministry strongly encourages the wearing of masks in crowded settings, particularly indoors and around vulnerable individuals. This advisory is part of a broader strategy to curb the transmission of the virus in high-risk environments.
 
Additionally, MOH is urging individuals experiencing acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms to stay at home until their symptoms subside, minimizing contact with others. Travellers are advised to adopt precautionary measures, including wearing masks at airports, obtaining travel insurance, and avoiding poorly-ventilated crowded areas.
 
To preserve healthcare capacity, MOH has been working closely with public hospitals on contingency planning. This includes ensuring adequate manpower, deferring non-urgent electives, and utilizing alternative care models like Transitional Care Facilities and Mobile Inpatient Care@Home.
 
Expansion of Treatment Facilities
Acknowledging the increasing strain on healthcare resources, MOH announced the opening of a second COVID-19 Treatment Facility (CTF) at Singapore Expo Hall 10 this weekend. This facility aims to accommodate over 80 stable patients not in need of intensive hospital care. Furthermore, if the need arises, the capacity of the Singapore Expo facility can be expanded.
 
The existing CTF at Crawford Hospital in Adam Road, in conjunction with the new facility, will provide crucial support for patients affected by the virus. MOH underlines the importance of timely medical treatment and encourages the public to seek assistance at a hospital's Emergency Department only for serious or life-threatening emergencies.
 
Shift to Daily COVID-19 Updates
Starting from December 19, MOH will transition from its previous weekly reporting schedule to provide daily updates on the estimated number of COVID-19 cases. This shift aims to offer more precise and timely information, considering the evolving nature of the current surge.
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The new reporting method takes into account various factors, including the number of ARI attendances at polyclinics, the proportion of polyclinic ARI samples testing positive for COVID-19, and the share of national ARI cases observed in polyclinics.
 
This move towards daily updates reflects the urgency with which the authorities are treating the current situation, demonstrating a commitment to transparency and effective communication to keep the public informed. Daily COVID-19 News press releases will also be disseminated.
 
Analyzing the Surge in Cases
The surge in COVID-19 cases during the first week of December has raised concerns and prompted a closer examination of the contributing factors. The data shows that the estimated number of cases rose to 56,043, marking a significant increase from the previous week's count of 32,035.
 
Hospitalizations also witnessed a notable uptick, with an average daily count of 350, compared to 225 in the preceding week. The average daily Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cases climbed to nine, a substantial rise from the four cases reported the week before.
 
A closer look at the cases reveals that the JN.1 variant, a sub-lineage of the highly mutated Omicron subvariant BA.2.86 which was first identified in mid-August 2023., is responsible for the majority of infections.
 
Despite this, the Singapore MOH is cautious in its assessment, emphasizing that there is currently no clear evidence suggesting increased transmissibility or severity associated with these variants.
 
To address the surge and ensure timely medical attention for those in need, MOH has been collaborating with public hospitals for contingency planning. This includes strategies to ensure adequate manpower, deferring non-urgent electives, and exploring alternative care models to maximize bed capacity for urgent cases requiring acute care.
 
Emphasis on Vaccination and Collective Action
As part of the comprehensive strategy to combat the virus, MOH reiterated the critical role of vaccination in preventing severe illness. The analysis from the ministry highlights considerably lower hospitalization rates among those who have kept up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including the additional dose received within the last 12 months.
 
MOH encourages the public, particularly individuals aged 60 and above, medically vulnerable persons, and caregivers of vulnerable individuals, to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccines. The updated XBB.1.5 Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna/Spikevax vaccines remain free at designated centers.
 
A critical aspect of the vaccination strategy is addressing waning immunity over time. MOH emphasizes the need for the public to keep their vaccination up to date to maintain protection and contribute to the nation's collective resilience against COVID-19.
 
Looking Ahead: Daily Updates and Public Cooperation
With the shift to daily updates starting on December 19, MOH aims to provide a more accurate and timely picture of the evolving COVID-19 situation in Singapore. The increased frequency of reporting underscores the fluid nature of the current surge and the importance of real-time information for effective decision-making.

As the nation faces this latest wave of infections, collective action and adherence to health guidelines become paramount. MOH urges everyone to play their part in protecting themselves and their families, especially seniors and medically vulnerable persons.
 
Singapore has weathered previous infection waves successfully, emerging more resilient each time. With the cooperation of the public, authorities believe the nation can similarly withstand the challenges posed by the current surge. The emphasis on vaccination, continued public vigilance, and the swift implementation of measures reflect Singapore's commitment to navigating these uncertain times with resilience and determination.
 
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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