SARS may be over as far as most of Singapore is concerned, but for Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) with its nine remaining SARS patients, it will be at least another month before all returns to normal.
And even then, ‘normal’ will have a whole new meaning. The open-door policy that used to characterise the hospital will no longer be.
No one at the hospital is celebrating Singapore’s SARS-free status yet.
Said chief executive officer Lim Suet Wun: “At TTSH, we cannot let our defences down in any premature celebration.
“If we have learnt anything from Toronto, it is that we need to continue to maintain high vigilance and caution, with emphasis on infection control.”
Any celebration, he said, “would send a wrong signal to our staff that the fight is over.”
But the mood at the hospital has been upbeat, especially with no new SARS patients admitted in almost three weeks.
Staff who had been putting in extra hours during the height of the fight against SARS are taking turns getting some “rest and recreation.” About 250 to 300 of the hospital's 3,500 employees are now on leave on any given day.
Non-SARS patients have been returning to the hospital. TTSH patients who need hospital care have been readmitted.
They form about half of the 300 patients warded at the hospital. The other half has been there since pre-SARS days. –The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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