SINGAPORE – Home recovery is now the default mode for the care of Covid-19 cases in Singapore, to ease the strain on hospitals and community care facilities (CCFs).

Home recovery now accounts for up to 40 per cent of daily cases. Those who are 80 and above, 70 and above and not vaccinated, or those with underlying illnesses will still be admitted to hospitals and CCFs.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) issued answers to frequently asked questions regarding the home recovery process on Thursday (Sept 23).

1. Who are eligible for home recovery?

Home recovery is the default mode of recovery for fully vaccinated individuals who are:

– Aged 12 to 69 years old;
– Have mild or no symptoms;
– Have no severe comorbidities or illness;
– Have no household members who are more than 80 years old or are in one of the vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women or those with weakened immune response or multiple comorbidities; and
– Able to self-isolate in a room, preferably with an attached bathroom.

2. I have been informed my polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result for Covid-19 is positive. No one has contacted me yet to start home recovery or to recover at a CCF. What should I do while waiting?

The surge in cases has caused delays and MOH seeks your patience and understanding. The ministry is streamlining its operations and will get to you as soon as possible.

While waiting, individuals are advised to isolate themselves in a room at home, preferably with an attached toilet, and wear a mask if they need to leave the room.

Individuals will be receiving an SMS providing more information on what they should do during home recovery. If they are feeling unwell, they can call a telemedicine provider. For a list of the providers and their contact numbers, go to this website.

People are advised not to call the quarantine and MOH hotlines to prevent the system from being jammed up. MOH is beefing up its resources and setting up a home recovery buddy system, which will respond to inquiries.

Household members of Covid-19-positive individuals will also need to self-register for an electronic quarantine order at this website. They will also be issued an isolation order for 10 days.

3. I have yet to receive my home care pack, who should I inform?

The home care pack is delivered only to those who do not have an oximeter at home. For questions regarding the care pack, individuals are advised to call their home recovery buddy, after the system has been set up.

The key item in the care pack is the oximeter for monitoring blood oxygen levels. MOH will send it via contactless delivery.

4. I am under an electronic quarantine order and household members are not allowed to leave home. How can I get my food, groceries or medical supplies (including children’s medication)?

People are advised to try to order groceries and food that can be delivered to their homes. If not, they will have to get help from relatives, family members and friends.

As for medicine, individuals can access the telemedicine service if they need medication to be sent to them.

5. How can I keep my household members safe if I need to collect meals, have laundry changed or clear trash?

Those who have no choice but to leave the room to do these tasks are advised to ensure no one from the household is near the doorway to the room. The infected person should put on a surgical mask before opening the door, complete his task and return to the room quickly.

Image credit: 123RF

6. I am running out of antigen rapid test (ART) kits for myself and my household members under home quarantine. Who can I contact for more kits?

Those on home recovery need not take such tests. If they are on quarantine order, ART kits will be given to them when they go for quarantine entry swabbing at the clinic or test centre.

There is sufficient stock of ART kits. However, it will take a few days for the stock to be distributed to the various shops nationwide. Individuals can also arrange for friends or relatives to obtain the kits from the shops on their behalf.

7. Where do I upload my oximeter test results while on home recovery?

Those on home recovery need to maintain a daily regimen of monitoring their temperature, pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation.

The readings can be submitted to the Home Recovery Vitals Diary every day by 10am at this website.

8. I developed some symptoms. What should I do?

For those feeling unwell or experiencing the worsening of any of the following symptoms, they should contact their telemedicine provider who will guide them on what to do.

– Fever
– Acute respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache
– Muscle ache or tiredness
– Diarrhoea

9. When can I be discharged from home recovery?

No discharge memo is needed. If the infected person is feeling well, he is discharged on Day 10 of illness. There is no need for further PCR testing because vaccinated individuals are extremely unlikely to be infectious by this time.

Text: Syarafana Shafeeq/ The Straits Times