SINGAPORE - As Covid-19 cases in the community rise in recent weeks, bed spaces at community care facilities (CCFs) have been prepared for patients to be isolated and cared for.
There are currently three such facilities that can accommodate up to 2,400 people, said the Ministry of Health on Tuesday (May 25) in response to queries from The Straits Times.
These facilities are D'Resort NTUC, Tuas South and Bright Vision Hospital. They are meant to house people who tested positive for Covid-19 but have mild symptoms and lower risk factors.
On Monday (May 24), 268 patients were being isolated and cared for at these places. This means that the CCFs are about 10 per cent filled.
MOH said that while the three CCFs are not at full capacity, it has also activated the CCFs at the former Ang Mo Kio Institute of Technical Education and Civil Service Club @ Loyang, "as an added buffer for contingencies, should there be a need to increase our CCF capacity".
"The addition of these CCFs means we can take in about 4,100 individuals in total," added the ministry.
Covid-19 cases in the community have been on the rise since late April, after months of low to no daily cases. At the end of April, there were nine open clusters, most of them in the community. This has increased to 30 clusters as at Monday.
Larger spaces that were used as CCFs, such as the Changi Exhibition Centre and the Singapore Expo, were no longer in use as of late last year.
In October last year, three CCFs were in operation - D'Resort NTUC, Singapore Expo and Big Box. No figures were available on the total capacity at the time.
The D'Resort NTUC facility in Pasir Ris was Singapore's first community isolation facility set up in March 2020. As the pandemic in Singapore worsened in April last year, the capacity at CCFs was ramped up, with 10,000 bed spaces available.
MOH said on Tuesday that each CCF has been designed and built to facilitate rapid scaling up and down depending on the needs and local situation. "We will continue to review the local situation and requirements, and adjust the CCF capacity accordingly."
In addition, one Swab Isolation Facility is currently in operation at Village Hotel Changi, added MOH.
Hospitals are also beefing up their capacity to care for Covid-19 cases or isolate suspected cases. A spokesman for the National University Health System (NUHS) said four hospitals that are part of the public healthcare cluster have set aside more holding facilities for suspect cases.
The National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) and Jurong Community Hospital are also ready to convert existing wards into those for Covid-19 patients - just as how they were able to do so last year at the height of the pandemic between April and May.
Last year, 32 per cent of beds at NTFGH and Jurong Community Hospital were converted to cater to Covid-19 patients.
"We are reducing non-urgent surgical work as we ramp up capacity to prepare for any surge in Covid-19 cases," added the NUHS spokesman.
Singapore General Hospital's medical board chairman Ruban Poopalalingam said dedicated wards have been created for suspect cases, and more can be added if there is a need.
A spokesman for Khoo Teck Puat Hospital added that it has recently reconfigured its wards and clinical areas following an increase in Covid-19 patients at the hospital.