'Significant pressure': Ong Ye Kung says nearly 90% of 1,650 isolation beds, two-thirds of Covid-19 ICU beds occupied

MOH has been proactively working with the public, community and private hospitals to set aside more beds for Covid-19 patients.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

SINGAPORE - Nearly 90 per cent of the 1,650 isolation beds in hospitals here and two-thirds of the available intensive care unit (ICU) beds have been occupied amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

This has put Singapore hospitals under significant pressure and strain, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Wednesday (Oct 20).

There are currently 207 ICU beds for Covid-19 cases, with 71 intubated patients in these units.

"There are another 75, who are not intubated, but have been admitted to ICU, because they require close monitoring and treatment by ICU-trained healthcare workers to prevent further deterioration," said the minister.

"We can open up new beds... but there is a cost." He explained this would mean delays in other treatments and procedures.

Mr Ong said the next leap will be to increase to 300 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients.

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To cope with the increase in cases, the MOH has been proactively working with the public, community and private hospitals to set aside more beds for Covid-19 patients.

MOH is currently operating a total of 4,200 beds in hospitals and Covid-19 treatment facilities.

To reduce the load, hospital clinical teams have been actively referring more stable patients to CTFs for further monitoring.

MOH said it is also working with community hospitals to operate more CTF-type beds to ensure continuity of care and assist in further recovery and rehabilitation of recovering older Covid-19 patients with co-morbidities.

Meanwhile, the admission waiting time at the hospitals have grown longer and the hospitals have reduced non-urgent and non-life-threatening care treatments, to alleviate the pressure on public hospital capacity and manpower.

MOH has also mobilised the private hospitals to help with the Covid-19 cases.

READ ALSO: PM Lee: Singapore must press on with strategy of living with Covid-19 and not be paralysed by fear

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.