Coronavirus: Just 2,700 people remain in four community care sites

Several facilities put into reserve but can be quickly reactivated if need arises, says MOH

Big Box shopping mall in Jurong East, one of the most recent additions to the Government's list of community facilities, is among those still operating, said a Ministry of Health spokesman.
Big Box shopping mall in Jurong East, one of the most recent additions to the Government's list of community facilities, is among those still operating, said a Ministry of Health spokesman.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Just 2,700 people are still being housed in four Covid-19 community care facilities (CCFs) as of July 12, with the virus' spread in the community remaining low.

This is down from about 10,600 individuals in such facilities as of June 3, more than six weeks back, and also much lower than the maximum capacity of the current facilities.

CCFs house people who tested positive for Covid-19, but have mild symptoms and lower risk factors.

Several community facilities have been put into reserve, but the authorities were quick to stress that those facilities can step up at a moment's notice to provide more beds if necessary.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesman said Big Box shopping mall in Jurong East, one of the most recent additions to the Government's list of such sites, is among those still operating.

The other three are Singapore Expo, Changi Exhibition Centre, and D'Resort NTUC in Pasir Ris - Singapore's first community isolation facility set up back in March.

While MOH did not provide the current maximum capacities of these facilities, the authorities said in late April that there were already a total of 10,000 bed spaces at the three sites in the east.

This number alone is almost four times the current number of people being housed in CCFs, not counting Big Box, for which MOH did not provide more details.

Several community care and recovery facilities such as the military camps, Tuas South, Tanjong Pagar Terminal and Prince George's Park Residences in the National University of Singapore's Kent Ridge campus have been progressively put into reserve, said MOH.

Community recovery facilities (CRFs) are for those who remain well at the end of 14 days after first being diagnosed, and who do not require further medical care.

Should the need arise, the reserve facilities can be swiftly activated to provide up to 20,000 beds, and "swiftly deploy the necessary medical, service and ancillary manpower" needed to support the operations, MOH said.

 
 
 
 

"Each facility has been designed and built to facilitate rapid scaling up and down depending on the needs and local situation," said the spokesman.

Similar remarks were made recently by Singapore's top medical authority, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, who is the director of medical services at MOH.

At a press conference for the Government's multi-ministry coronavirus task force last Friday, where the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 infections was discussed, Prof Mak said the authorities would continue to be vigilant.

He stressed that while some of these community facilities and resources have been stepped down because case numbers have gone down, they have not been taken out of service.

"They remain in reserve. They can easily be stepped up, if we need to, if the cases in the community rise again," he said, adding that this is something that the task force would continue to track and monitor.

Apart from CCFs and CRFs, the Government also has other community facilities at private and community hospitals, among others.

There were 3,618 people housed in community facilities as of yesterday.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2020, with the headline 'Just 2,700 people remain in four community care sites'. Subscribe