SINGAPORE: Members of the public have been urged to only call 995 in the event of “life-threatening emergencies” to ensure those requiring urgent care are able to receive it promptly.

The prudent use of emergency medical services and emergency departments is important as the country learns to live with COVID-19, the Health Ministry (MOH) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said on Monday (Oct 25).  

“It will ensure that patients requiring emergency care are able to receive it in a timely and prompt manner,” they said, adding that the 995 hotline caters to all patients who suffer from life-threatening and emergency conditions, not just those with COVID-19. 

Life-threatening and emergency conditions include sudden onset of chest pain, breathlessness, drowsiness or confusion, sudden onset of limb or body weakness, difficulty in speech, or drooping of the face, severe bleeding from injuries, loss of consciousness, and unexplained jerking of the body or fits. 

The authorities said the SCDF 995 Operations Centre received about 5,500 calls between Oct 15 and Oct 21, of which 20 per cent were from COVID-19 patients.  

Of the COVID-19 patients that were taken to the emergency department, 47 per cent received only day treatment and did not need to be hospitalised, while 15 per cent were warded for two days or less, and mainly for observation, said MOH and SCDF. 

MOH and SCDF advised COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms to seek medical attention elsewhere, depending on whether they tested positive via a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or an antigen rapid test (ART)

Those with mild symptoms who are recovering under the Home Recovery Programme or waiting to be taken to a care or isolation facility should seek medical attention through a telemedicine provider. They can also contact their primary care provider or the Home Recovery Buddy hotline at 6874 4939. 

Those who tested positive after an ART and are feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms such as fever or persistent cough should visit a Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) via private transport.  

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