COVID 19Mildly ill patients with cough and sore throat clog up 995 -...

Mildly ill patients with cough and sore throat clog up 995 – MOH urges public to use hotline only for life threatening emergencies

With patients with mild illness like cough and sore throat calling the 995, the emergency hotline almost bucked with about 1,000 calls on Valentine’s Day – nearly double the pre-epidemic average of 550 calls per day.

More mildly ill COVID-19 patients made calls to the 995 emergency medical service, which soared to about 1,000 calls on Valentine’s Day, nearly double the pre-epidemic average of 550 calls per day. The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) urged the public to call for help only in life-threatening emergencies.

The MOH and the SCDF issued a joint statement saying that the Civil Defence Force received an average of 635 calls per day for emergency medical services in January, an average of 830 calls per day in the first two weeks of February, and about 1,000 calls on Valentine’s Day on the 14th. . Compared with the daily average of 550 calls before the outbreak, more people called 995, increasing the pressure on the medical system.

In the first two weeks of January and February, about 1,700 and 2,500 calls were made by Covid-19 patients, respectively, but about 45% of them were admitted to hospital for daytime treatment without hospitalization, the statement said.

The authorities reminded that the 995 number is designed to provide hospitalization services for people with life-threatening and urgent conditions, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, etc., and should not be called arbitrarily under normal circumstances.

If 995 calls continue to rise, the dispatch of ambulances may be delayed and unable to help the public with real urgent needs.

In addition, in the first two weeks of February, the number of patients seeking consultation in the emergency department of public hospitals increased significantly, with an average of about 3,100 people per day, an increase of 15% compared with January, resulting in longer queues and waiting times.

Among them, as many as 80% of the patients only need to receive day treatment and do not need to be hospitalized.

Simplified process of triage and transportation of confirmed patients

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The MOH and the SCDF have simplified the triage and transport process for those diagnosed with Covid-19. Patients who are in stable condition and who are not in an acute condition will be sent directly to a COVID-19 treatment facility if they are assessed for further medical observation. The arrangement was implemented at the Tampines NTUC Health Cooperative Nursing Home from yesterday.

Authorities are urging those recovering at home, those waiting to be transported to nursing or isolation facilities, and those with mild symptoms to seek help through channels such as telehealth services, primary care facilities or home recovery partners.

Responding to MOH and SCDF’s appeal to the public, some Twitter users said patients who call 995 for coughs and sore throats crazy.

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Others pointed out that not every drippy nose, cough or sore throat is Covid-19, and that sometimes people may not get it that their symptoms might be due to allergies or just a simple cold. Prominent internet personality Lee Kin Mun aka mrbrown said on Twitter: “can don’t call 995 for this kind of thing or not?”

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