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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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NEXT WAVE OF COVID-19 COULD HIT US IN JULY OR AUGUST – ONG YE KUNG

Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung said that the next wave of Covid-19 infections would hit Singapore in July or August, and that healthcare institutions must be prepared.

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He was speaking at the MOH annual work plan seminar on 2 June, and he said that Singapore cannot afford to do what it did during the Omicron wave, where many infected people were taken to public hospitals because the facilities where they were being cared for couldn’t manage them properly.

Need to be ready

Ong added that “every healthcare setting needs to be Covid-ready, to be able to handle your own infections, take care of them. because with vaccination, most will recover uneventfully.”

Singapore is getting itself prepared for another wave of Covid-19 infections from the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants that were first discovered in South Africa.

Ong added that the good news is that the cases there peaked at a lower level than the original Omicron wave, without a sharp rise in deaths and hospitalisations.

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Build up defences

Ong highlighted the need to build up Singapore’s defences in three ways, namely the rolling out of home care services by hospitals which frees up beds while allowing patients to receive care at home.

Secondly, many long term patients are waiting for places in nursing homes and if the number of nursing home beds can be increased, the patients can be moved there.

Third, community treatment facilities need to change how they work – they were set up last year to receive elderly Covid patients who were stable but required closer monitoring.

They must now be redesigned to take in any patient that doesn’t need acute care of hospitals, regardless of the ailment.

Third booster shot for seniors

Ong also highlighted that seniors above 60 need to be convinced to get their booster shot because they are the most vulnerable.

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Around 12% of those in that age group have yet to get their third shot yet.

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