Hospitals, residential care homes to limit number of visitors amid rising COVID-19 cases

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SINGAPORE: Hospitals and residential care homes will impose limits on the number of visitors for four weeks from Thursday (Jul 7) amid a rise in COVID-19 community cases in Singapore.

There will also be a cap on the duration of visits to these facilities, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The measures – which will be in effect from Jul 7 to Aug 3 – are to protect healthcare capacity as well as vulnerable patients and residents during this period, said MOH. 

HOSPITAL VISITS

All patients will be allowed two pre-designated visitors for the duration of their admission, and only one visitor may be allowed at the bedside at any one time. 

Critically ill patients will be allowed up to five pre-designated visitors while two visitors may be allowed at the bedside at any one point in time.

The duration of a visit will be limited to 30 minutes. 

“In exceptional situations, such as for critically ill patients, paediatric patients, birthing or post-partum mothers, and for patients requiring additional care support, visitors may be allowed to stay beyond 30 minutes on a case-by-case basis at the hospitals’ discretion,” said the Health Ministry.

It added that all visitors should ensure that they are well and are “strongly encouraged” to test themselves with an antigen rapid test (ART) on the day of the visit. 

MOH said hospitals have the discretion to impose stricter visitor limits or testing requirements for visitors of vulnerable or unvaccinated patients.

“Visitors are reminded not to eat or drink in the hospital wards, or use the toilets designated for patients in the wards. They should also avoid sitting on patients’ beds.”

RESIDENTIAL CARE HOMES

All residents at care homes will be allowed up to four pre-designated visitors, and only one visitor may visit at any one time. The visit duration will be limited to 30 minutes. 

MOH said visitors should continue to schedule the visits with the home ahead of time. These visitors should also ensure that they are well, and are strongly encouraged to perform a self-test for COVID-19 on the day of the visit. 

“Visitors should strictly adhere to prevailing safe management measures within the Homes. This includes remaining within the designated visitor areas, outside of the wards.

“We also seek the understanding of visitors that visits may have to be suspended if a Home is managing active COVID-19 cases. Next-of-kin of residents may approach the Home for further details,” added MOH.

The Health Ministry said all visitors must wear face masks with good filtration capability at all times while visiting hospitals or residential care homes. These include surgical masks and reusable masks that are made of two layers of fabric.

MOH said that it will review and calibrate these measures regularly in line with the evolving situation. 

“We seek the understanding and cooperation of patients, residents, their family members and loved ones as we work to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our healthcare institutions and residential care homes.”

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