Singapore on Sunday reported 1,012 new cases of Covid-19 infection, bringing the total tally in the country to 77,804. After months of relatively low numbers of daily new cases, over the weekend Singapore reported crossed the 1,000 mark for new daily cases, the highest since April last year.
Singapore Braces Itself for An Exponential Surge in Cases Over the Coming Weeks
The health authorities are keeping a close eye on the number of Covid-19 cases in the intensive care unit (ICU) to ensure Singapore's health system is not overwhelmed, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Sunday.
There are currently 14 people in the ICU, but this number "can change very quickly", Wong said in a Facebook post.
Wong who also co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 said, "The coming one to two weeks will be critical as we monitor the trajectory of the infection and our overall hospital/ICU situation."
Hospitals in Singapore Under Pressure?
Singapore's plan to shift away from a Covid-zero elimination strategy, toward living with endemic Covid, relies on limiting serious cases through mass vaccination. The current increase could test that strategy, according to Bloomberg. The number of serious cases in ICU or in need of oxygen supplementation more than doubled to 139 as of Sunday, from 61 a week ago.
"There is no doubt that if our people had not come forward in big numbers to vaccinate ourselves, our healthcare system would have been overwhelmed by now," Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said.
The government has called the increase a "rite of passage." Ong said, "We are on a path of transition to a new normal of living with Covid-19."
"It is a journey that is uncertain and full of twists and turns," he said during a virtual press conference on Friday.
Singapore's ICU capacity is still holding up, but the hospitals' accident and emergency departments and general wards are coming under pressure, said the health minister in a Facebook post on Sunday.
"Our hospitals and healthcare workers cannot be overburdened," he said. "At this point, this is MOH's biggest challenge and we are doing our best to solve this."
New Covid-19 Community Care Facilities
With the increase in Covid-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is setting up new community care facilities that provide clinical care to Covid-19 patients who are stable, have mild symptoms and/or are generally clinically well but have underlying conditions that require closer monitoring of their disease course. The MOH made this announcement on Sunday.
The move is aimed at augmenting hospital capacity, so that only Covid-19 patients who need close and specialized medical attention â such as oxygen supplementation or intensive care â will be hospitalized.