SINGAPORE: Patients with COVID-19 who are “well and stable” will be transferred to selected private hospitals so that the public sector can have the capacity to manage more severe cases, said the Ministry of Health on Monday (Mar 23). 

“As the number of COVID-19 cases rise globally and the virus spreads across the world, we expect the number of cases in Singapore to increase. 

“As part of our emergency response plan, the Ministry of Health has already put in place plans to expand our hospital and clinical services capacities to deal with increasing demand,” said MOH in response to media queries. 

READ: Singapore reports 54 new COVID-19 cases in highest daily spike, including 48 imported infections 

Singapore on Monday confirmed 54 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily increase to date, taking the total to 509 cases.

Over the past three days, 20 patients were transferred from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) to Concord International Hospital and 29 patients to Mount Elizabeth Hospital via dedicated ambulances, said the ministry. 

“These patients are generally well, and will remain at these private hospitals until they have fully recovered from COVID-19 and have tested negative for the virus for two consecutive tests over a 24-hour period,” it added. 

READ: COVID-19 FAQ: When will a stay-home notice be issued, and what does it mean?

MOH added that as part of the collaboration, experts from the public healthcare sector worked closely with the private hospitals to assess if their infrastructure and resources were suitable to manage COVID-19 cases. 

They also worked to develop clinical and swabbing protocols, proper segregation and infection control measures as well as discharge criteria.   

“There are plans to further collaborate with the private hospitals to manage COVID-19 cases, as well as patients with other conditions, to free up capacity in the public sector,” MOH added. 

On Friday, MOH director of medical services Kenneth Mak said that the Government was looking to increase public hospitals’ capacity by working with private hospitals. He also mentioned that even before the COVID-19 outbreak, useful partnerships had already been set up, with public hospital patients being treated at private hospitals. 

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