SINGAPORE: COVID-19 patients who are recovering at home currently account for up to 40 per cent of cases every day, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Sep 23).
Home recovery is now the default mode of care for fully vaccinated COVID-19 cases if they meet the criteria.
Singapore has seen a surge in local COVID-19 cases over the last month, with a record 1,453 new local cases reported on Wednesday.
The ministry's ground operations are "much strained" and there have been delays for some patients, said MOH.
Some patients on home recovery said they have not received instructions from authorities about tests or what they should do after they tested positive.
This is what you need to know if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are recovering at home.
Q: Who is eligible for home recovery?
Home recovery is the default mode of recovery for fully vaccinated COVID-19 cases who meet the criteria, said MOH.
COVID-19 cases recovering at home must meet these requirements:
- Fully vaccinated
- Aged 12 to 69 years old
- No or mild symptoms
- No severe co-morbidities or illness
- Household members do not include elderly who are more than 80 years old or people in the vulnerable group such as pregnant women or those with weakened immune response or multiple co-morbidities
- Able to self-isolate in a room, "preferably" with an attached bathroom
COVID-19 patients are admitted to hospital and community care facilities if they are 80 and above, 70 and above and not vaccinated, or if they have underlying illnesses.
Q: I've tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do while waiting to be contacted to start home recovery?
"The surge in cases has caused delays and we seek your patience and understanding. We are streamlining our operations and will get to you as soon as possible," said MOH.
"In the meantime, please isolate yourself in a room in your home."
Isolate in a room that "preferably" has an attached toilet and wear a mask if you have to come out of the room, MOH said.
If you are not feeling well, you can call one of the telemedicine providers on this list.
MOH said an SMS will be sent to provide more information on what you should do during home recovery.
This will include the home recovery buddy hotline at 6874 4939 should you have any questions.
As the ministry is still "building up" its call response team, it advised people to call again later if the line is busy.
"Try not to call (the) quarantine hotline, MOH hotline, QSM (quality service manager) hotline, etc – this will just further jam up the system. We are setting up the home recovery buddy system and beefing up our resources, and the home recovery buddy will get back to you," added the Health Ministry.
Household members are to register for an electronic quarantine order, while you will be issued an isolation order for 10 days.
Q: Who should I contact if I have not received my home care pack?
The home care pack is only delivered to you if you do not have an oximeter at home. Should you need one, call your home recovery buddy.
"The key item is the oximeter to monitor the oxygen level in your blood," said MOH.
"We will deliver it to you using contactless delivery, no different from when you are ordering food delivery."
Q: Where do I upload my oximeter test results?
Maintain a daily regimen of monitoring your temperature, pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation.
You can submit the readings to the home recovery vitals diary by 10am every day.
Q: How can I keep my household members safe if I need to collect meals, have laundry changed or clear trash?
"If you really do need to step out of the room to do these tasks, ensure no one from the household is near the doorway to your room," said MOH.
"Put on a surgical mask before opening the door, complete your task and return back to your room quickly."
Q: I’m under electronic quarantine order and my household members are not allowed to leave home. How can I get food, groceries or medical supplies?
Try to order groceries and food that can be delivered to your home, or get help from your relatives, family members and friends.
"As for medicine, access the 24/7 telemedicine service. If you need medication, it will be sent to you," said MOH.
Q: I am running out of ART test kits for myself and my household members under home quarantine. Who should I contact?
There is no need to take antigen rapid tests (ART) if you are on home recovery.
If you are on a quarantine order, ART kits are given to you when you go through your quarantine entry swab at the clinic or test centre.
There is sufficient nationwide stock of ART kits, said the Health Ministry.
"However, it will take a few days for the stock to be distributed to the various shops. Please wait for a few days before going back to the shops to check," MOH added.
You can also arrange for friends or relatives to get them from shops and deliver them to you.
Q: I have developed some symptoms. What should I do?
If you feel unwell or experience worsening of any of the following symptoms, contact your designated telemedicine provider. They will guide you on what to do.
These symptoms include:
- Acute respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache
- Muscle ache or tiredness
Q: When can I be discharged from home recovery?
No discharge memo is needed, said MOH.
"If you are feeling well, you are discharged on day 10 of the illness.
"There is no need for further PCR tests because vaccinated individuals are extremely unlikely to be infectious by this time," added the ministry.