COVID-19: Home recovery patients “anxious” without clear instructions, set up telegram group for support

On the other hand, 31-year-old freelance photographer Adam (not his real name) would have preferred to spend his quarantine in a community care facility. He tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday.

Adam lives in a two-room apartment with his wife and a friend, and his wife had to move into the living room after testing positive.

“I feel like it is more difficult to recover from home because you depend on your people to feed you. They also have schedules to adhere to. You are dealing with work. As soon as I am positive, they are also under domestic quarantine. You have to organize groceries. It’s a lot of unnecessary stress for them, ”he told CNA on the phone.

“I mean, it’s nice to know that I’m close to the people I love, but I don’t want to risk infecting them either.”

He added that he would like to move to a community care facility as it would be “more comfortable” for his wife, who now has to sleep on the living room floor.

LACK OF COMMUNICATION

Both Jacob and Adam cited a lack of communication from authorities about what was going to happen to them, but isolated themselves without “official” news that their home recovery phase had begun.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a September 14 press release that a Telemedicine providers would conduct an initial remote assessment to ensure the COVID-19 patient is clinically safe. AAn officer called the Home Recovery Buddy would contact them to guide them through the trip and provide the necessary information.

If necessary, a “care pack” with a thermometer, pulse oximeter, surgical mask and hand disinfectant would be sent out.

“I received a text message from MOH on Saturday telling me that I was sure and that someone would be in touch with you. I waited until Sunday to receive another letter from MOH asking me to fill out a family member form. But actually we did that on Saturday, ”said Jacob.

“An hour later, a contact tracing lady called me about some locations on my TraceTogether app. It was effective. No quarantine buddy, no ART packages, nothing really. ”

Jacob said he had read that he could either do another PCR test on day 7 of his quarantine and be “let off the hook” if the test was negative, or continue isolating himself until day 10 without doing a PCR test, before he ends the quarantine, provided he is comfortable.

“But that’s just me read the regulations over the internet because I’m still waiting for someone to call me and explain it to me, ”he said.

“My wife tests herself with ART every night, but we’re running out of ARTs. If we do not receive anything very soon, it will no longer be able to test. And since she is quarantined at home, she is not allowed to go out (to buy more). ”

Similarly, Adam has not received any follow-up care since filling out a form after MOH notified him that he was entitled to a home recovery.

“You know the infographics they put online, right? Apparently I’m supposed to take my temperature and do oximeter tests and upload that information somewhere, ”he said.

“But from the beginning nobody contacted me to send me these things. Nobody sent me a link where I can upload these things. So I literally did nothing (other than monitor my own symptoms). “

CNA asked MOH for a comment.

ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP

Due to the uncertainty about what to expect, 38-year-old Jing Feng (who preferred to withhold his last name) formed a telegram group called the SG Quarantine Order Support Group.

The group consists of around 24 members, including Jacob and Adam, and was formed last Sunday for those who had no idea what to expect when they recovered at home and who received no instructions from the authorities.

Jing Feng’s mother tested positive and was isolated in the master bedroom with attached toilet; his father, who later tested positive, is lying in the guest room of their five-room apartment HDB. His mother’s symptoms are mild while his father has a cough.

While Jing Feng is currently testing negative, he said sharing a toilet with his father increases his risk of infection.

“MOH mentioned that they sent someone (on Monday) to take them to a quarantine facility, but no one came,” he said.

Like some of the others in the group, Jing Feng does not have any ART kits at home.

“All persons who are under quarantine must submit ART results daily via a MOH link according to the instructions in their quarantine SMS. So everyone in the family who is quarantined needs to be given plenty of ART kits, ”he added.

“Last Thursday, the Certis hotline accelerated my case for ART kits. But I still waited for it until the end of Monday. ”

To show their mutual support, some Telegram group members are louder and regularly share updates about their situation or their COVID positive household members.

“I originally started a thread on Reddit (social discussion website) to share my experience dealing with quarantine orders since my mom tested positive. There are a lot of delays and I can understand that MOH and Certis are very overwhelmed, ”said Jing Feng.

“I can also understand that there will be many others like me who will struggle with these frustrations, be it the delays or the radio silence from MOH.”

He added that some members thanked the group for the existence of the group.

“(Some) have a family member who is already COVID positive, but they may wait longer than 24 hours just to get their quarantine order text messages and further instructions. Waiting makes people afraid, ”he said.

“My intention (starting the group) was just to calm everyone down and let them know that they are not alone, what to expect and where to call.”

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