NURSING HOME CASES, REPORTS ON CLUSTERS
To relieve the strain on hospitals, the panel suggested having nursing homes keep “stable” COVID-19 patients in their facilities but segregated from those who are not infected. GPs will check on them to decide on when hospitalisation is needed, said the panel.
It added that the authorities should set up a dedicated ambulance hotline for those who have tested positive or are identified as contacts so that they can be taken to the hospital quickly if their pulse oximeter readings show evidence of low oxygen concentrations.
This is similar to what was done during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) period, SDP said.
Authorities should publish regular reports on positive tests and all clusters, like the dengue cluster reports, so the public can seek medical attention if they develop symptoms after visiting those areas, said the panel.
The panel also proposed “targeted” interventions.
“Do away with blanket closures and restrictions. Instead, implement interventions that are targeted like with food poisoning outbreaks or hand, foot and mouth disease outbreaks in childcare centres,” the SDP said
This would involve shutting the physical building or facility where an outbreak occurred.
The SDP said Singapore’s “lack of a clear strategy” in dealing with the pandemic has left businesses unable to plan ahead.
The “reactive nature” of the Government’s approach in dealing with outbreaks has led to “stop-start, on-again, off-again policies which had adversely impacted both employers and employees”, it added.
In its final suggestion, the panel suggested conducting “rapid adaptive design randomised clinical trials” on all WHO-approved vaccines so they can be studied for use as boosters or primary doses.
“These vaccines should be commissioned and funded rapidly. The same should be done for other preventative agents which have shown promise in earlier randomised trials,” the panel said.
The proposed measures will provide society with a “more reliable and predictable way of handling the pandemic”, the SDP said.
“They will build confidence as we go forward in dealing with a virus that is here to stay. Singapore must deal with the pandemic in a steady and intelligent manner that brings hope and security,” it added.