Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song
MP for Aljunied GRC
Question No. 1106
To ask the Minister for Health (a) to date, how many persons who tested positive with COVID-19 have been allowed to serve their quarantine orders at home; (b) what are the criteria for allowing such individuals to quarantine at home; (c) what medical treatment is provided to such individuals to reduce the chances of them requiring hospitalisation; and (d) how are they monitored for a worsening of their condition which may require them to be admitted to a hospital.
Home Recovery is commonly practised, and in fact the default mode of recovery, in many countries, from US, UK, Germany, France, Japan etc. We have been more cautious, admitting infected patients to hospital, or to Community Care Facilities.
However, given that over 98% of individuals infected with COVID-19 has mild or no symptoms, we should right-site their recovery to be at home, so that hospital beds can be freed up for those who truly require the medical care.
Hence, we implemented the Home Recovery pilot scheme from 30 August 2021. 40 individuals have been allowed to recover at home. 15 have been discharged as at 12 September 2021.
Given the positive pilot results, we will expand home recovery as the default care management protocol for fully vaccinated, younger individuals under 50, from 15 September 2021. They should not have significant co-morbidities or underlying illnesses and must be able to self-isolate in a room at home with an en-suite bathroom. Their household members should not be above 80 years old, regardless of vaccination status, and not belonging to any vulnerable groups, i.e. individuals who are pregnant or with weakened immune response.
Parents have also been requesting for their children who are infected with COVID-19 to recover at home, Hence, we will also roll out home recovery for infected children between 5 to 11 years old who do not have co-morbidities or underlying illnesses. These children are generally well with no or minimal symptoms. They will first be assessed by the hospital to be clinical fit for home recovery, before sending them back home for their recovery journey.
Patients on the Home Recovery Program will be provided with a Care Pack that includes a thermometer, pulse oximeter and information on how to conduct daily self-monitoring of their own temperature, blood oxygen level and pulse rate. The patients are also informed on how to detect symptoms and warning signs, such as low blood oxygen level, and the appropriate escalation protocol, including contacting the 24/7 telemedicine provider for medical assistance or call 995 in the event of medical emergencies.