More Covid-19 patients can be cared for by GPs, including all aged 3 to 69, regardless of their vaccination status

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SINGAPORE – More Covid-19 patients can be cared for by their primary care doctors under Protocol 2, regardless of their vaccination status, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Wednesday February 16, while close contacts of infected individuals can expect to undergo shorter self-intervention -surveillance periods.

As of Wednesday, all Covid-19 patients between the ages of three and 69, regardless of their vaccination status, as well as fully vaccinated patients between the ages of 70 and 79, can be cared for by their treating physician as part of of protocol 2.

Previously, only fully vaccinated patients between the ages of five and 69, or non-fully vaccinated patients between the ages of five and 49, could be supported under Protocol 2.

Protocol 2 cases are people who are healthy and have tested positive, or who have been assessed by a physician as having a mild condition.

According to Protocol 2, people with a positive rapid antigen test result must isolate themselves for 72 hours and can only leave their homes after the third day of isolation if they test negative for Covid-19.

Explaining the expansion of age groups under this health care protocol, the Ministry of Health said the vast majority of patients in most age groups infected since January 2022 had mild symptoms. and can recover safely on their own. These include elderly patients in particular.

“For example, among people aged 60 to 69 who were infected, only about 0.5% of fully vaccinated patients and 1.8% of non-fully vaccinated patients were treated as severe cases,” said Wednesday. the Ministry of Health in a press release.

Among vaccinated patients aged 70 to 79, only 1.2% became seriously ill.

For young children, 4.5% of those aged three to four taken to emergency departments required admission, and less than 1% of the home recovery program required additional care.

In line with the latest changes, Protocol 2 patients with non-emergency conditions are strongly advised to avoid seeking treatment in hospital emergency departments and instead consult their primary care physician or telemedicine provider if they have need medical assistance.

“People with non-emergency conditions presenting to the emergency room (emergency department) may be referred to other urgent care clinics for further assessment, to prioritize emergency department resources for patients requiring acute care,” the ministry said.

Patients can also be diverted to be admitted to Covid-19 treatment facilities for further monitoring of their condition, as long as they do not require hospitalization, the health ministry added.

PROTOCOL CHANGES FOR CLOSE CONTACTS

Revisions have also been announced for close contacts of Covid-19 cases.

Currently, close contacts of positive cases identified by the Ministry of Health, i.e. Protocol 1 patients or Protocol 2 infected individuals identified by primary care physicians, are placed on Protocol 3 .

From February 18, these close contacts will receive a Health Risk Notice (HRN) notice instead of a Health Risk Warning (HRW) order.

The self-monitoring period for these individuals will also be reduced from seven days to five days, due to the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant.

However, the Ministry of Health has stressed that all people who are aware of their recent exposure to a case of Covid-19, whether they have received a notice from the Ministry of Health or otherwise, must exercise their social responsibility and adhere to protocol 3.

“They should moderate their social activities, monitor their health and self-test with ART (rapid antigen test) before leaving home for that day, especially if they are going to crowded places or entering in contact with vulnerable people,” the health ministry said.

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