'Vday date with quarantine': Singaporean documents visit to the NCID

PHOTO: Facebook/Joyce Chan

Of all the different ways to spend Valentine's Day, one local resident began her Valentine's in the National Centre for Infectious Disease (NCID) after being suspected of being infected with Covid-19.

Despite the coronavirus fear that has seized many Singaporeans — resulting in hoarding, discrimination and fear-mongering — her documented trip to the NCID helped to put many netizens' minds at ease.

Joyce Chan's post on Facebook and Instagram, dated Feb 14, which covered the entire process from admission, triage, diagnosis to discharge, had gotten over 8,200 shares at the time of writing.

As photo- and video-taking are not allowed within the NCID, the post has since been edited to remove the photos capturing other patients and medical personnel.

I visited the doctor this morning for a cough and what happened next was completely unexpected. I was sent straight to...

Posted by Joyce Chan on Thursday, February 13, 2020

In her post, Chan recounted how she paid the doctor a visit last Friday (Feb 14) in hopes of grabbing some medication for an incessant cough that had lasted over six months.

Upon seeing her cough symptoms during her visit, Chan was immediately isolated in a quarantine waiting room. A doctor dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE) informed her that due to her recent trip to Taiwan and the cough, she would be sent to the hospital for examination.

She wasn't allowed to leave the premises until an ambulance arrived to ferry her to the NCID.

Despite the inconvenience, Chan was impressed by "the levels of alertness frontline medical staff [were] displaying".

Throughout her time at the NCID, she documented how she and other patients were seated spaced far apart, as though in an examination hall, to avoid physical contact with one another. Medical professionals would then come by with mobile stations to conduct checks on the patients.

"There [was] no chance for me to be in contact with another surface that a previous patient was on," she remarked. Should pieces of equipment, such as a blood pressure monitor, need to be shared, it would be thoroughly disinfected before its next use.

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She also described the NCID staff as super-efficient, attentive and empathetic, even serving her breakfast when they realised she hadn't eaten.

"With dedicated medical professionals like them and a really good system and process, I've full confidence that Singapore can handle this situation well," Chan wrote. "Now, more than ever, is the time to seek treatment if you are feeling unwell."

As of Tuesday (Feb 18), more than 500 general practitioners have been activated as Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs), out of an expected 900 across the island. These PHPCs have been given additional training and preparation to treat patients with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose.

These clinics, as well as regular polyclinics, will also provide special subsidies for those diagnosed with respiratory symptoms, to encourage those who are ill to seek treatment, said MOH.

These clinics can be found through https://www.flugowhere.gov.sg, or identified through a PHCP decal.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

rainercheung@asiaone.com