Some recovering Covid-19 patients will be moved out of hospitals to a "Community Isolation Facility" at D'Resort in Pasir Ris, from Tuesday, Mar. 24.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced this in a press release issued on Mar. 24.
On Tuesday, 49 new Covid-19 cases were also announced, bringing the total number of cases to 558.
Patients to be isolated and receive medical care
The patients will continue to be isolated at the facility, which has a capacity of about 500 persons.
They will also receive medical care there, although these patients "do not generally require significant medical care", as these patients are "clinically well enough to be discharged from medical care" even though they still test positive for Covid-19.
MOH said that the facility is modelled after existing Government Quarantine Facilities, though the staff there would observe "a higher baseline level of infection control".
MOH also said that the cost of being isolated in the Community Isolation Facility would be borne by the government.
Legal requirement to remain in isolation facility
Patients sent to the isolation facility will be served with an "isolation order", which legally requires them to remain in the facility and isolate themselves, MOH's Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak said, at a press conference on Mar. 24.
Mak explained that the isolation order would be the "equivalent of a quarantine order", issued to ensure that these patients remain in the facility and respect the rules.
He added that the isolation order would be lifted when the patients no longer test positive for Covid-19 infection, and are deemed fit to return home by doctors.
Previous policy of hospitalising all cases "not efficient"
Previously, all patients were hospitalised, which MOH explained was to help with understanding of the disease, as well as to isolate Covid-19 patients.
However, this has not been an efficient use of hospital resources, MOH said on Mar. 24.
Thus, setting up the Community Isolation Facility would help to ensure that healthcare facilities in Singapore are able to cope with "a possible surge" in cases.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had previously said that Covid-19 patients who required less support could potentially be housed in alternative facilities, instead of being hospitalised, at a press conference on Mar. 18.
Gan also said that approximately 80 per cent of the people who were hospitalised required minimal health support.
Top image via Trivago.sg website