Parents moved out of master bedroom of HDB flat so she could recover from Covid-19 at home

Antigen Rapid Test rooms near the entrance of Tan Tock Seng Hospital are pictured on Sept 24, 2021.
Antigen Rapid Test rooms near the entrance of Tan Tock Seng Hospital are pictured on Sept 24, 2021.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - When it was confirmed that Ms Isabella Ng was infected with Covid-19, her parents moved out of the master bedroom.

"My dad had read about the requirements for home recovery, which was still very new, so he moved (their) bed out into the living room," said the 26-year-old training officer.

He then moved her bed into the master bedroom, which has an en-suite bathroom - all so Ms Ng could recover while keeping the other three in the 4-room Choa Chu Kang Housing Board flat safe.

She tested positive on Sept 17, after home recovery became the default care model for vaccinated Covid-19 patients on Sept 15.

The Ng family's painstaking efforts paid off. None of the other three in her home, including her sister, 22, were infected. All of them are fully vaccinated.

Although initially apprehensive about home recovery and telemedicine, Ms Ng was won over by the attentive care she received.

"I was lucky enough to have my appointed telemedicine provider video call me for a first consultation on Day 2, to check on me.

"It was my first time having a telemedicine consultation ever. It felt very strange because usually, if you go to a doctor, they will check you physically, so you don't know if (this) is as reliable or safe."

She added: "But I felt better about it as the consultation went on.

"It helped that (my doctor) was very consistent and checked in with me once every two to three days during my home recovery."

As she felt very sick on Day 3 with fever, cough and flu symptoms, she reached out to MaNaDr, her assigned telemedicine provider, for a consultation. Medicine was delivered to her doorstep the same day.

"However, I have heard of others needing to wait for two to three days to get to see their telemedicine provider," said Ms Ng.

She was referring to other patients who, like her, were part of the Covid-19 cluster at Sun-Dac Choa Chu Kang, the day activity centre for persons with disabilities where she works.

She said Certis staff delivered her isolation order on Day 6, though no care pack was given.

She tested positive again in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on days five and seven, but her second test had a high cycle threshold value of 32, indicating a low viral load. The discharge criteria is 25 for those in the programme.

She started to leave her flat again on Sept 27, the 11th day since she tested positive.

"It felt very weird and scary to not have an exit swab and discharge memo," she said.

Like other home recovery patients interviewed by The Straits Times, her Covid-19 test status is not cleared on the TraceTogether app, even though she had met the requirements.

Said Ms Ng: "Am I still allowed to dine in or not? Am I able to still go out?... I'm not sure what that red alert means, so I don't dare to try dining in."

Tip

Take a self-test using an ART kit upon being informed of exposure to Covid-19.

"A day before my PCR test, I tested positive on the ART, when my symptoms were still very light. This gave my family time to exchange my room and prepare for home recovery." - Training officer Isabella Ng, 26

Read next: At home with Covid-19: My 10 days of recovering from the virus