New SGH facility adds 50 isolation single rooms for Covid-19 patients

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A new facility built on a portion of an open-air carpark in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) will add 50 isolation single rooms to the hospital's existing 35 to support the country's fight against Covid-19.

It will start admitting confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients from today.

The facility will also admit patients with other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and measles.

Work on the 3,200 sq m facility, which is named Ward@Bowyer, started in mid-May during the circuit breaker period and was completed over six to seven weeks.

The new ward, built to last a few years, is part of the national plan to increase capacity for Covid-19 cases, said SGH medical board's chairman, Associate Professor Ruban Poopalalingam.

"This ward is not built as a permanent fixture for the long run. It is built to at least last the distance of the pandemic and hopefully beyond for other infectious diseases," he said.

Patients who are sent to Ward@Bowyer must be able to walk about and take care of themselves, and have conditions assessed as less likely to deteriorate.

Each isolation room measures 2.3m by 5.6m with a height of 2.5m, and includes an attached toilet and shower.

The rooms are designed to contain viral particles, which are then removed through specialised exhaust vents.

The medical team will use contact-free monitoring to detect warning signs of patient deterioration and will thus be able to intervene early.

For instance, patients will be given a biosensor to wear on their wrists that will allow their heart rate, respiration rate and oxygen saturation level readings to be wirelessly transmitted to clinicians.

Patients can also check their own vital signs as the information will be sent to a mobile app that they can access through in-room smartphones.

If patients are unwell or need assistance, they can use the in-room smartphone to contact the medical team either through videoconferencing or an app called MyCare Lite. - THE STRAITS TIMES