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Spike in number of patients seeking treatment at polyclinics for respiratory infection

The average number of patients seeking treatment at polyclinics for acute respiratory infection (ARI) last month doubled compared to April, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

In response to The Straits Times' query, the ministry said on Thursday (Aug 4) that the daily average was close to 3,000 last month. This was double the daily average of around 1,500 in April, added MOH.

ARI includes both Covid-19 and other infections, and the symptoms include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and cough.

Polyclinics have put in place measures that have helped to ensure that patients are being cared for despite the spike in numbers, said MOH.

These include leveraging team-based care and remote consultation, especially for chronic patients, and adopting alternative ways to collect prescription medicine, such as delivery services or via a locker box.

The ministry said on July 22 that thoseunder 80 years old who want to get their Covid-19 vaccinations at polyclinics will have to book appointments to do so.

This was to allow the 23 polyclinics to better handle patients with pressing healthcare needs, added the ministrythen.

It said that ARI patients who need medical attention may visit the Public Health Preparedness Clinics,or telemedicine providers.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung saidin Parliament on Monday (Aug 1) that while the nation was still in the midst of a Covid-19 wave, infection numbers have been falling over the past 10 days and the week-on-week ratio had dipped below 0.9 over the last week.

The week-on-week infection ratio refers to the ratio of community cases for the past week, over the week before. A ratio of below one shows that the number of new weekly cases is decreasing.

Ministry of HealthPOLYCLINICS