51 new cases in ICU in past 2 weeks; 2 in 3 are partially or not vaccinated

Over the past two weeks, 51 new Covid-19 cases have been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in hospitals, of which two-thirds are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, said Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak yesterday.

Speaking at the press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, Associate Professor Mak said that while about one in three ICU patients have been fully vaccinated, they have concurrent medical conditions, which increased their risk of developing a severe infection and a bad outcome.

He said there are two unvaccinated patients in the ICU who are below 50 with these high-risk factors.

Local data also suggested the risk of unvaccinated people getting a severe infection is 14 times higher than that of vaccinated people, said Prof Mak, as he urged those who are "still on the fence" to get vaccinated.

Currently, 77,000 seniors still remain unvaccinated.

"We... have over 180 ICU beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients, and we are prepared to expand the hospitals' ICU bed capacity further by adding an additional 100 beds if needed over the next few weeks," he added.

However, Prof Mak said that healthcare workers have been stretched, as they not only need to look after those directly admitted to the ICU for Covid-19, but also other critically ill patients in the ICU. These include patients with heart attack, stroke and other medical emergencies that may require the same amount of "vigilant monitoring" as those with severe Covid-19 infection.

Some Covid-19 patients on oxygen supplementation who may require additional help, such as mechanical ventilation, may be pre-emptively admitted into the ICU for monitoring in case they deteriorate, he added.

"(This would ensure that) they are in the best setting for us then to resuscitate and provide them with the treatment they require," said Prof Mak.

Therefore, the 41 Covid-19 cases in the ICU (as at Friday) are "only a subset" of the number of ICU patients that healthcare workers have to look after, he added.

"Help our healthcare workers to help you by reducing the unnecessary work for them. Most people with Covid-19 infection are well and will remain well. They should keep themselves away from others in the same household and stay at home to recover," he said.

"And if they are unable to do so safely, (they) have the option of recovering in our community isolation facilities."

Currently, about 75 per cent of all Covid-19 cases are recovering at home or in community isolation facilities, Prof Mak added.

As at Friday, more than 4,500 people with Covid-19 had been successfully enrolled into the home recovery programme, and more continue to be enrolled into the onboarding process.

More than 1,000 people have recovered from their infection and have been discharged from the home recovery programme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 10, 2021, with the headline '51 new cases in ICU in past 2 weeks; 2 in 3 are partially or not vaccinated'. Subscribe