1,600 Covid-19 hospital beds for patients, up from the 1,000 planned

Singapore's hospitals can currently get ready almost 300 ICU beds at short notice, which is sufficient for current needs, said the multi-ministry task force. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The authorities plan to have up to 1,600 Covid-19 hospital beds if needed, up from the 1,000 previously planned, as they accelerate the implementation of ramped-up plans as cases surge.

This is done "at the expense of some degradation of normal services", so some elective procedures will have to be postponed, said Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung at a press conference on Friday (Sept 24) by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19.

Hospitals have also barred visitors for four weeks from Friday.

By the end of the week, MOH will increase the beds in community care facilities to 4,600, from about 3,500 currently.

The Government has launched a new class of facility - community treatment facilities (CTFs), which are better equipped for closer monitoring and management of Covid-19 patients with chronic illnesses. The first such facility, at the site of NTUC Health Nursing Home in Tampines, opened yesterday.

"We have commissioned about 300 CTF beds this week," said Mr Ong.

In the coming weeks, MOH will open another 700 such beds at Changi Expo and another 200 at Sengkang Hospital, he added.

MOH is seeking help from private sector hospitals and the Singapore Armed Forces to help operate the CTFs.

There had been 21 new cases in the intensive care unit (ICU) in the past week, up from nine in the preceding week.

As Singapore hospitals can get ready almost 300 ICU beds at short notice, this is sufficient for current needs.

About 40 per cent of infected people are currently recovering at home and around 15 per cent to 20 per cent are in hospital, while the rest are in community care facilities.

Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said: "We are monitoring the situation closely, working closely with our hospitals on our preparations and our plans to increase our ICU bed capacity as needed."

Singapore's data, which is consistent with that of other countries, shows that the risk of unvaccinated people with Covid-19 needing ICU care or dying is nearly 12 times higher than those who are vaccinated, he added.

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