Due to Omicron's higher transmissibility, the number of Covid-19 infected individuals with severe symptoms could be higher than what was experienced during the preceding Delta variant wave in Singapore.
Omicron highly transmissibility could strain healthcare resources again
In a press conference on Jan. 21, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) cautioned that this could once again strain healthcare resources in Singapore.
In response, the Ministry of Health (MOH) urged those who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and for the vaccinated to register and receive their booster jabs.
MOH said this will help to maximise an individual's protection against Covid-19 as the number of cases increase in Singapore.
Cases on the rise and could reach 10,000 to 15,000 daily
The number of cases who test positive on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests have increased from around 800 daily last week to 1,472 cases on Jan. 20, 2022, according to MOH.
Of the 1,472 cases, local cases — at 1,133. — formed a "large and growing majority" as opposed to the 339 imported cases.
With regard to the number of cases who tested positive on Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs), MOH said there was a daily average of around 800 patients who tested ART positive at healthcare facilities in the past week.
This number has similarly been climbing upwards with the expanded use of Protocol 2 to include individuals who are at low-risk and with mild symptoms.
Under the protocols, ARTs are also used more pervasively in lieu of PCR tests.
As a result, MOH said it will be "timely" to publish the number of ART positive cases, alongside the number of PCR positive cases.
MOH expects the number of infected cases to rise sharply, and cases could double every two to three days, and potentially reach 10,000 to 15,000 cases daily.
Focus on ICU numbers
While the number of infections is set to increase, MOH said:
"We should focus our attention on the numbers in ICU care instead of case numbers."
MOH said Singapore's Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths are expected to rise slower than the rate of increase in the overall Covid-19 case numbers.
In that regard, the ministry said: "Our local Covid-19 situation remains under control".
This is because international and local data has proved that the Omicron variant is less severe than the Delta variant.
However, MOH cautioned that an uncontrolled rise in overall case numbers could still push hospital and ICU admissions to unmanageable levels.
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Top image by Mothership