S’pore Records 56,043 Covid-19 Cases From 3 To 9 Dec, Masks Strongly Encouraged In Crowded Places

Covid-19 Cases Continue To Rise In December, New Treatment Facility To Open At Singapore Expo

In the week ending 2 Dec, Singapore saw the highest weekly number of Covid-19 cases in 2023, with 32,035 recorded.

Unfortunately, this figure has now been eclipsed — 56,043 cases were reported in the week of 3 to 9 Dec.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has thus strongly encouraged members of the public to wear a mask in crowded places, even if they are not sick.

Singapore’s Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Dec: MOH

In a press release on Friday (15 Dec), MOH said Singapore’s Covid-19 infections are continuing to rise.

According to data on the MOH website, the estimated number of cases in the week of 3 to 9 Dec — epidemiological week (e-week) 49 — was 56,043 cases.

This is not only the highest weekly number in 2023 so far, but also over 24,000 more than the 32,035 reported the week before.

More patients hospitalised & in ICU

Worse still, the number of Covid-19 patients currently hospitalised and in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) seem to be following a similar trend.

The average daily Covid-19 hospitalisations rose to 350 in e-week 49, from 225 the week before. That means the figure has already overtaken the previous high recorded in May.

As for the average daily ICU cases, there were four in the week ending 2 Dec. This number has increased to nine in e-week 49 — roughly equalling the same figure in May.

MOH will update Covid-19 cases daily from 19 Dec

In light of the surge, MOH will provide Singaporeans with the latest Covid-19 information daily.

From 19 Dec, the latest estimated Covid-19 case numbers will be updated on the MOH website every day.

Currently, this update is done weekly.

MOH said they estimate the number of local Covid-19 cases by taking into account:

  1. the number of acute respiratory infection (ARI) cases at the polyclinics
  2. the proportion of polyclinic ARI samples that test positive for Covid-19 each e-week, and
  3. the share of national ARI cases seen in polyclinics

However, since Covid-19 testing is no longer routinely required under DORSCON Green, the ministry warned that the actual number of Covid-19 cases should in fact be more than the number reported.

Public urged to exercise social responsibility

MOH also urged the public to exercise personal and social responsibility.

That’s why they “strongly encouraged” people to wear a mask in crowded places — even if they are not sick.

This especially goes for indoor settings, or when visiting or interacting with vulnerable persons.

Singaporeans who are travelling — a larger number given the year-end holiday season — should adopt the relevant precautions listed in MOH’s Health Advisory for Travellers.

For example, they should wear a mask at the airport, purchase travel insurance and avoid crowded areas with poor ventilation, among other things.

Stay at home if you have symptoms

Those who’re not feeling well and have ARI symptoms should stay at home and avoid contact with others until the symptoms go away, MOH added.

If they must meet people, they should wear a mask, minimise social interactions and avoid crowded places.

Should medical treatment be needed, they should head to a polyclinic or clinic instead of the Emergency Department (ED) of a hospital. The ED is only for serious or life-threatening emergencies, MOH maintained.

This practice will preserve hospital capacity for patients who truly need acute hospital care and allow those with severe illness to receive timely treatment.

MOH to open 2nd Covid-19 Treatment Facility

To that end, MOH has made contingency plans with public hospitals in the event of more infections.

This includes:

  1. ensuring adequate manpower
  2. deferring of non-urgent electives to maximise bed capacity for urgent cases in need of acute care
  3. tapping on step-down facilities and alternative care models to ensure patients are sent to the correct facilities

Something Singapore did during the height of the pandemic will also be revived — the Covid-19 Treatment Facility (CTF).

There’s currently a CTF at Crawfurd Hospital on Adam Road, but MOH will open another at the Singapore EXPO Hall 10 this weekend.

A CTF in the Singapore EXPO that opened in 2022. Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

This will increase capacity to house more than 80 stable Covid-19 patients who do not require intensive hospital care.

If the need arises, the CTF capacity at the Singapore EXPO can be further increased, MOH said.

Singapore can withstand wave with everyone’s cooperation: MOH

MOH assured Singaporeans that they can withstand the latest Covid-19 wave with everyone’s cooperation.

They urged people to protect themselves and others by keeping their vaccinations up to date.

Thankfully, the vast majority of Covid-19 cases in Singapore are of the JN.1 strain, a sublineage of BA.2.86. There’s currently no clear indication that these variants are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than others, based on available data.

So hopefully, Singapore will be able to weather this wave well, just like the previous cases.

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