SINGAPORE - With the number of Covid-19 patients rising in the past week and going up by double digits in recent days, a carpark at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) will be used to screen patients for fever, to help alleviate the load.
On Friday (March 20), the hospital will extend its fever screening area by converting part of its multistorey carpark H for the purpose.
It will be manned by staff from all six of the hospital's medical divisions, as well as the nursing and allied health departments.
The move was announced on Thursday in an internal note to staff seen by The Straits Times and confirmed by an SGH spokesman.
Signed off by SGH chief executive officer Kenneth Kwek and medical board chairman Ruban Poopalalingam, the note said that the new screening area will help to manage the growing number of patients infected with the coronavirus nationally.
On Thursday, Singapore recorded 32 new cases. This was slightly lower than the 47 cases recorded the day before, the highest daily number since the start of the outbreak.
Singapore now has a total of 345 cases.
On Monday, the National Centre for Infectious Diseases saw unusually long queues, with people seeking Covid-19 testing without appointments or prior consultation at a clinic.
In the letter, Professor Kwek and Associate Professor Ruban said: "You would have read about the spike in the number of new Covid-19 cases in Singapore, setting a new high every day. This is a situation that we have anticipated and have been planning to meet the increased need for care.
"We are able to manage the surge because of all your efforts. Many of you have stretched yourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically and we are deeply grateful for everything you have done," they added.
As confirmed cases of Covid-19 exceed 200,000 around the world, hospitals have braced themselves for the surge.
Hospitals in Singapore have also been preparing for a rise in the number of cases, with Singapore seeing more imported cases in recent days.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Wednesday that the aim is to reduce the total number of cases on any day, so that the healthcare system can cope with the load.
At SGH, clinicians from other specialities have also joined in the effort to treat Covid-19 patients, lending their expertise to those in the Infectious Diseases and Emergency Medicine departments, said Profs Kwek and Ruban.
"Our dedicated staff volunteers contribute their time, expertise, experience and ability in support of the effort," they added.
"We are so touched and gratified by your support, which allow us to ensure that we have the capacity to meet the demand."