Over 200,000 seniors have had Covid-19 booster shots: Minister
Minister gives update at Community Care Day celebrations, says 95% of staff in sector are vaccinated
More than 200,000 seniors here have received their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, while 87 per cent of seniors aged 70 and above are fully vaccinated against the virus.
Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli gave the update on the vaccination of seniors during Community Care Day celebrations held virtually yesterday.
In his speech during the event, Mr Masagos also said that 95 per cent of employees in the community care sector, which encompasses senior care facilities and nursing homes, have also been vaccinated.
Addressing community care staff at the event, Mr Masagos said: "The past few weeks have been extremely challenging. With the spike in community cases, it has put a heavy strain on you and our healthcare sector. But because of your hard work, commitment and support, our seniors are safe and protected..."
Community Care Day, which started in 2019 and is organised by the Agency for Integrated Care, celebrates efforts made by the sector to enable Singaporeans to live well, age gracefully and with dignity in the community. Themed Celebrating our Community Care Heroes, this year's Community Care Day honours selfless acts and dedication to quality care that staff in the sector have shown during the pandemic.
Thirteen organisations, including Lien Foundation, Tote Board and the Singapore Exchange, received the Friends of Community Care Awards during the event.
Launched last year, the awards acknowledge the work of organisations outside the community care sector for their support and contributions.
Mr Masagos also highlighted the progress made by home vaccination teams, which go door to door providing inoculation to residents in the heartland.
"On top of the vaccination efforts in our eldercare centres and nursing homes, we also deployed 33 home vaccination teams from six community care providers and general practitioners," he said.
Beyond the pandemic, Mr Masagos also touched on the roll-out of the active ageing centres and care hubs which would be go-to points for seniors to access various services, such as active ageing programmes, befriending, and information on and referral to care services.
"Earlier this year, I shared our plans to introduce over 200 active ageing centres and care hubs into our new eldercare centre service over the next three years... We have since rolled out 60 such centres and hubs, with 50 more next year," he said.
Mr Masagos cited the example of a senior, 77-year-old Ivy Goh, who attends Fei Yue Community Services' Active Ageing Centre near her home.
Through the centre, Madam Goh was able to participate in daily exercises and weekly bingo games. She also received health checks by a nurse who visited the centre each month.
Noting that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of finding news ways to improve care delivery and outreach, Mr Masagos said: "I encourage the sector to continually innovate, tap digitalisation to help you do your work better, and foster stronger collaborations with the wider healthcare and social service sector."
5-person dining rule to facilitate networking at forum: Minister
The Bloomberg New Economy Forum (NEF) is an important event that will help Singapore maintain its hub city status, which will then support economic recovery and create good jobs for Singaporeans, said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.
A key objective of the forum is to facilitate business networking, so groups of up to five people will be allowed to dine together at forum venues and designated restaurants in the city, he added.
Mr Gan said: "We will need to ensure they have space to be able to interact with one another, so that they can network and meet their business associates to talk business with one another."
He added that participants may need to hold discussions in groups, and that is why they will be allowed to dine in larger groups of five. "They also need to make use of every moment available because many of them travel from many different places, and they do want to maximise the value they can get while they are here."
Mr Gan was addressing concerns about the different rules for forum delegates and people in Singapore, who are now limited to a maximum of two when dining out.
The forum will be held from Nov 16 to Nov 19 at the Capella Singapore hotel and is expected to draw more than 300 participants from 51 countries, including political and business leaders.
Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin, in a note to forum delegates, said guests at meals can include non-delegates. The authorities have put in place safety measures to reduce the risk of transmission, including requiring all forum participants - Singapore residents included - to undergo daily testing before an event.
Venues and restaurants for forum delegates must also be designated in advance and made exclusive for the event, with non-delegates who go to these places required to test negative in advance.
Asked why the Government is not allowing Singaporeans to dine and meet in larger group sizes as well, Mr Gan said the scale of risk is different.
Forum delegates are a limited number but allowing people in Singapore to dine in larger groups means more than five million people could be eating out, he added.
Mr Gan said: "Those who are infected may bring the virus back home and they may have seniors at home who will be exposed to the danger..."
He added that it will not be practical to impose a pre-testing requirement for people in Singapore because the forum will run for only a few days. If dining-in restrictions are relaxed across the board, everyone who goes out for a meal will have to be tested, which is not a good solution, Mr Gan said.
IMH cluster with 116 cases emerges; 14 more Covid-19 deaths
Fourteen people aged between 60 and 93 have died of complications linked to Covid-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday. All of them had various types of underlying medical conditions, said MOH in its daily virus update, without giving further details. This takes Singapore's death toll to 329.
MOH yesterday added eight cases to a large cluster comprising 116 cases that has emerged at the Institute of Mental Health. Of these, eight are staff members and 108 are residents, said MOH.
The inpatient cases come largely from three blocks, and were detected from IMH surveillance tests for patients, or picked up after they developed respiratory symptoms.
Most of the cases are long-stay patients, but MOH was unable to say when the cluster was detected.
Yesterday, there were 3,174 new Covid-19 infections, comprising 2,843 cases in the community, 322 from migrant worker dormitories and nine imported cases.
The community cases included 457 seniors above 60 years of age.
The ministry added that the weekly infection growth rate is at 1.18. The authorities have said the weekly infection growth rate must drop below one for Singapore to ease restrictions.
The total number of cases in Singapore now stands at 175,818.
MOH said 261 patients now require oxygen supplementation in general hospital wards, while 107 are unstable and under close monitoring in intensive care units (ICU). Another 64 are critically ill and intubated in the ICU. The overall utilisation rate of the ICU is 83.6 per cent.
From 366 ICU beds available, 171 are occupied by Covid-19 patients. There are 60 empty beds, down from 75 on Sunday.
Seven more cases were added to a cluster at the Bukit Batok Home for the Aged, and five more to a cluster at Banyan Home@ Pelangi Village in Buangkok. The total at the Bukit Batok home is now 154. Of these, 148 are residents and six are staff members.
As at Monday, there were 18,279 patients in home recovery, 4,626 in community care facilities and 952 in Covid-19 treatment facilities. There were 1,779 patients in hospital. - THE STRAITS TIMES
By the numbers
3174 New cases
3165 In community, dormitories
1779 In hospitals
175818 Total cases