Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: New facility at Changi to house 1,700 more recovering cases

First batch of patients transferred over at Changi Exhibition Centre

Patients stay in tents with partitioned rooms (top), each with eight to 10 beds, fans, power sockets, storage cabinets and Wi-Fi access. Apart from mobile diesel generators that power the new facility, solar panels (above) will provide 20 per cent of
Patients stay in tents with partitioned rooms (above), each with eight to 10 beds, fans, power sockets, storage cabinets and Wi-Fi access. Apart from mobile diesel generators that power the new facility, solar panels will provide 20 per cent of projected energy consumption. ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN
Patients stay in tents with partitioned rooms (top), each with eight to 10 beds, fans, power sockets, storage cabinets and Wi-Fi access. Apart from mobile diesel generators that power the new facility, solar panels (above) will provide 20 per cent of
Patients stay in tents with partitioned rooms, each with eight to 10 beds, fans, power sockets, storage cabinets and Wi-Fi access. Apart from mobile diesel generators that power the new facility, solar panels (above) will provide 20 per cent of projected energy consumption. ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN

Changi Exhibition Centre has treated more than 6,000 Covid-19 patients since it was turned into a community care facility about a month ago, with more patients on the way.

A newly built community recovery facility erected at its outdoor area will house a further 1,700 recovering cases. The 40,000 sq m complex was built in two weeks and received its first batch of 100 patients on Thursday.

This makes Changi Exhibition Centre the first integrated community care and recovery facility. The aim is to allow for a smoother patient experience and a more efficient administration.

The facilities share Mandarin Oriental Singapore as the managing agent, Raffles Medical Group as the healthcare provider, as well as food, pest control and security vendors.

Temasek Club general manager Teo Cheng Leong, who is on the security committee, said putting the facilities together is "a strength".

"(The patients) know our rules, what our facilities are like, so when they are transferred to the recovery facility, they are already prepared."

The authorities pledged in April to add 23,000 more beds for patients. This included increasing the 2,000 bed spaces for recovering patients, which are mostly in military camps, to more than 10,000 by the end of this month.

The new recovery facility currently takes in Changi Exhibition Centre patients who remain well after Day 14 of illness and do not require medical care. They will be taken to the recovery area by bus to ensure they remain isolated, and about 500 have moved over.

Like the care facility, the recovery amenity has three zones. Green is for work and rest areas, yellow is a transition area for staff, food and supplies, and red is for patients and restricted to authorised people wearing personal protective equipment.

Patients stay in tents with partitioned rooms, each with eight to 10 beds, Wi-Fi, power sockets, fans and storage cabinets.

Singapore Discovery Centre executive director Joseph Tan, who chairs the facility's infrastructure committee, said: "The breeziness of this area is quite unique and in the design of the tents and the infrastructure, we tried to allow for the optimisation of such natural ventilation. Depending on the situation, we have no problem running this place for a year."

NATURAL VENTILATION

The breeziness of this area is quite unique and in the design of the tents and the infrastructure, we tried to allow for the optimisation of such natural ventilation. Depending on the situation, we have no problem running this place for a year.

MR JOSEPH TAN, who chairs the facility's infrastructure committee.

 
 
 

Insect control was also a key concern so entomologists from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum were roped in to do surveys and advise on mitigation measures.

Preventive mosquito control measures have been put in place.

Mobile diesel generators power the new facility but 1,130 solar panels have also been installed and will provide 20 per cent of the projected energy consumption.

The system includes a roof array mounted on two temporary "solar tents", the first of their kind.

Solar fences and solar sound barriers will be piloted in the coming weeks. Another first is a UV cabinet for workers to quickly and safely disinfect surgical masks and face shields so they can be reused.

Technology has been key to operations at the facility at Changi Exhibition Centre, which is home to the Singapore Airshow.

Teleconsultations, for example, make up more than 80 per cent of daily consults with patients.

Patient volunteers are recruited to help with food distribution and to maintain order while also reducing manpower in the red zones.

There are about 30 patient volunteers now and about 100 have helped out since early last month.

There are plans to employ recovered migrant workers to support operations at the facility.

Construction worker Islam Mohammad Latiful, 25, was one of those who offered to help.

While he worries whether there will still be a job waiting for him after he is discharged, he said he would continue to volunteer if given the chance. "I like to help other people," he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 07, 2020, with the headline 'New facility at Changi to house 1,700 more recovering cases'. Subscribe