Singapore

Other hospitals increase capacity as TTSH dials down its load

Move is to ensure those requiring urgent care would receive it, says MOH

Hospitals here are increasing their capacity to make sure patients requiring medical care will continue to be attended to, as Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) dials down its load to focus on containing a Covid-19 cluster that emerged from one of its wards last week.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday that it has worked with public and private hospitals here to manage their load and raise their capacity to care for patients. This would ensure those requiring urgent care would get it, while non- urgent operations and admissions could be deferred.

"The healthcare community has also worked together to reserve more beds to manage any potential increase in Covid-19 cases," it said.

"To conserve resources across the healthcare sector, MOH has asked all hospitals to defer non-urgent (operations) and admissions as well as non-urgent SOC (specialist outpatient clinic) appointments until further notice."

These moves have come amid a rise in the locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in Singapore.

There were 10 new community cases yesterday, including eight linked to the TTSH cluster.

At 35 cases now, the TTSH cluster - which was discovered after a nurse in the hospital's ward 9D was confirmed to have Covid-19 last Tuesday - is the largest of nine active clusters here. An 88-year-old patient in the cluster, who was in ward 9D, has died.

Over the weekend, hospitals here started to mostly decline entry to visitors who had been in TTSH wards from April 18, which could have caused some alarm.

"MOH reiterates that no hospital is denying medical care to patients who need it," the ministry said.

However, as a precautionary measure while investigation of the TTSH outbreak continues, hospitals may ask visitors who have been to TTSH inpatient wards from April 18 to defer their visits, it said.

Already, visitors are not allowed at TTSH, unless it is on a compassionate basis.

CEASED ADMISSIONS

From Sunday, TTSH has progressively ceased admissions of new inpatient cases until further notice, MOH said.

Some hospitals have started deploying doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to assist TTSH teams in caring for their existing patients, MOH said.

These measures allow TTSH and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases to focus on providing appropriate care for existing patients and to deal with the cluster of Covid-19 cases in the hospital.

MOH urged members of the public to visit the emergency department only for emergency and life-threatening conditions. These include persistent chest pain, breathlessness, sudden weakness and numbness, serious injuries and multiple trauma.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

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