Visits to Hospitals & Residential Care Homes Will Still Be Suspended Until 3 Apr

If you’ve been intending to visit anyone at the hospital or a residential care home, you might want to cancel your plans for now.

Although the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced previously that visits to hospitals and residential care homes will resume on 20 February and then 20 March after that, it revealed in its latest statement yesterday (18 March) that the suspension of visits will continue again until 3 April.

According to MOH, this includes “public acute hospitals, community hospitals and private hospitals”.

So basically every single hospital in Singapore lah.

This means that you’ll only be able to carry out visits to hospitals and residential care homes from 4 April onwards, so mark your calendars if you need to.

In the statement, MOH claimed that this extension was to “relieve pressure on our hospital staff, and our nursing home staff who are caring for COVID-positive residents on-site”, noting that Singapore’s healthcare workers have been under “significant” amounts of stress.

This is despite the fact that the “daily number of local COVID-19 cases has fallen gradually over the past week”, as healthcare workers will still need to take care of COVID-19 patients to a certain degree.

Health minister Ong Ye Kung echoed this sentiment through a Facebook post yesterday(18 March).

He explained, “Hospitals are still very busy and under stress, due to the large number of non-COVID related Emergency Department admissions. These are mostly patients with chronic diseases, which have worsened over the last two years as the healthcare system was so pre-occupied with fighting COVID-19.

“Many of these patients are admitted to hospitals with COVID-19, and not because of COVID-19.”

Just to put things into perspective, the number of daily COVID-19 cases have fallen to under 10,000 as compared to the 15,345 cases last Friday (11 March).

As for the seven-day average, it was 16,245 as of 11 March as compared to 12,080 on Thursday (17 March).

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Of course, there are exceptions to the visiting regulations.

For cases where patients or residents are “critically ill”, hospitals and homes will be allowed to exercise discretion and allow visits if necessary. Visitors will need to show a negative Antiagent Rapid Test (ART) result within 24 hours of their visit.

Other cases that warrant exceptions include children, birthing or post-partum mothers, as well as patients who may require additional support from caregivers such as patients who have mental incapacities. Family members who are undergoing caregiver training to better care for their loved ones after their loved ones are discharged from the hospital also fall under this category.

During this period of time, hospitals and homes will “continue to support alternative methods of communication such as through telephone or video calls” in order to allow patients’ or residents’ loved ones to remain in contact with them.

“We seek the understanding and cooperation of patients/residents, and their family members and loved ones. MOH will review and calibrate these measures as the situation evolves,” the ministry concluded.

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Featured Image: Facebook (Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH))