With many restrictions being lifted all around the world, one might think that the COVID-19 pandemic is reaching its end.
But Singapore is already making preparations for the next COVID-19 wave, and it is forecasted to hit Singapore in the coming months.
BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 Wave
Singapore is currently preparing for a COVID-19 wave driven by BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, which have been spreading quietly ever since its detection in South Africa.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the cases there peaked at a lower level than the original Omicron wave. These cases also did not bring about more hospitalisation or deaths, which is good news.
This means that Singapore can be “quietly optimistic” as our vaccination coverage is high, and mask-on rules are still enforced.
However, there are still certain things we have to do to ensure we can handle another wave.
All Healthcare Providers Must Be Prepared
Previously, during the Omicron wave, many patients were taken to public hospitals because other healthcare facilities couldn’t manage them properly.
The facilities include nursing homes, community hospitals, and private hospitals.
To prepare for the next wave, every healthcare setting must be prepared to handle their own infections and take care of them. This is especially since most will recover uneventfully due to vaccinations.
Making More Hospital Beds Available
Apart from making sure healthcare settings are prepared, Singapore also needs to increase the availability of hospital beds. This is in case the pressure on the healthcare system builds up again.
Hospitals have been implementing home care services, which frees up beds while allowing people to receive care in their own homes.
Additionally, many long-term hospital patients are waiting to be placed in nursing homes.
The Ministry of Health will also change how community treatment facilities work. Most of these facilities were set up for infected elderly patients who require closer monitoring, but were in stable medical conditions.
However, they will be redesigned to take in any patients that don’t require the level of care a hospital provides. This will be regardless of the patient’s illness.
Last but not least, MOH is focusing on getting eligible seniors above the age of 60 to get their booster shots. There are about 12% of those in that group that hasn’t gotten their third shot yet, despite them being the most vulnerable.
Of course, us Singaporeans also need to play our part and exercise social responsibility. Keep wearing your masks and sanitising your hands, and we’ll hopefully get through the next wave unscathed.
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