“For societies and people who are taking the social distancing as a joke, get your act together.”
This came from Mike Davie, a suspected COVID-19 patient who had the first hand experience of witnessing the impact of COVID-19 in Singapore—and he documents the entire process in his Facebook post.
“To see first hand the chaos this is causing, the stress on the health system and the amount of work and supplies that are needed to treat patients and keep the medical staff safe is beyond comprehension.”
According to Davie, 200 ambulances were said to have come ahead of his as he entered the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on Monday (23 March).
Returned from a family vacation
Davie and his boys were said to have returned from their family travels to Korea and Canada and were required a 15-day isolation at home. At a similar time, his wife Leslie had also returned from a business trip to NY.
As such, the family had been in home quarantine since last Friday due to them classified as high risk for COVID-19.
Things took a turn for the worse when Davie experienced temperature spikes during a work call and was unable to think clearly. His attempts to control the fever failed, leading him to visit a local clinic.
He also reported having a dry cough that lasted from the earlier part of the day.
Documented behind-the-scenes after being suspected of COVID-19
At the doctor, Davie explained his symptoms and the series of events that lead up to his visit.
The doctor immediately took to action after hearing Davie out—he was rushed into a back isolation room while the staff closed the office for decontamination.
Davie recounts hearing “tons of commotion, cleaning, and calls being made to a central body, the mall and the ambulance dispatch.”
When the course was clear, Davie together with ambulance attendees exited via the back door down a flight of stairs. Midway, they were joined by two potential COVID-19 patients before heading to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
Photo: Mike Davie / Facebook
Suspected COVID-19 Patient: “Now, this is where it gets interesting”
According to Davie, there was a line of people suspected of COVID-19 after the lead out of the ambulance.
X’s were being marked on the ground, supposedly to indicate where each person is allowed to stand (read: social distancing) for the initial screening and segregation.
The taking of pictures and videos are not allowed upon entry to the hospital, mentioned Davie, and was repeated throughout the entire process.
At that point, he explained that his fever had spiralled out of control as he had not taken his medication for 6 hours. He was marked as “High-Risk” by a nurse and quickly brought into the hospital by a porter, cutting through “hundreds and hundreds of people”.
A “War Zone”
Likening it to “a war zone” with the number of sick people on the first floor, Davie however, said that each of the patients was well accounted for: with nurses, porters, janitors, doctors, pharmacists and technicians on standby. He described them as “calm, deliberate, organized and professional.”
He said that potential COVID-19 patients had to be seated at their respective desks, again marked by the X’s on the floor. Individuals are grouped by their status in terms of high or low risk. There are also signs that mark their exact positions, as well as barriers put in place to “prevent people [from] walking in the wrong spots”.
There is also a questionnaire to fill in and a clause that states for those involved to keep everything confidential.
The screening process of suspected COVID-19 patient
Davie is among the group of high-risk individuals. However, of the 30 desks in his section, there are varying levels of illness across individuals.
Each of the patients was called out through the night to check on their lungs at a nearby X-ray room.
“If you are lucky, and your lungs are good, they take a swab right there and you are on your way. You get to go home and wait 12 hours for the results,” wrote Davie.
In the event an individual is tested positive for COVID-19, an ambulance will return to bring you back to the hospital immediately.
The National Centre for Infectious Diseases. | Photo: NCID website
Lungs were infected
For Davie unfortunately, his lungs were said to be infected, after receiving his results 6 hours later. He was later brought to a private isolation room to wait for results of the COVID-19 test.
“I’m first fitted with a computer on my wrist that attaches to the electrode to monitor the basic stats of oxygen in my blood (one of the major concerns for people with Covid). Then comes the swab,” he wrote. According to him, it is painful and unpleasant.
“If you haven’t seen, well it goes in your nose and tickles your brain it seems.”
The tests done so far confirmed that Davie had pneumonia—with a high fever still running—and doctors could only ascertain in 12 hours if the virus infection was the cause.
Davie received news that afternoon that his first test came back negative for COVID-19.
Even so, he says that “this disease is tricky” and that the doctors are “taking no chances” looking at the state of his lungs.
Davie was later notified of his second COVID-19 test results, which turned out to be negative. But there was one final COVID-19 test to go.
Amid all the happenings, he says that he is “the lucky one”.
“Lucky that I don’t need a ventilator, and lucky that is just an oddly timed pneumonia. And with everything going on, the Singapore health system is ensuring my safety and the safety of those around me.”
Sang praises for Singapore’s health care system
Throughout his experience, Davie only had positive words about the level of attention, care, commitment and positivity provided by the medical professionals and frontline workers, including janitors and cleaning staff.
The medical staff are fully protected with protective clothing and follows the protocol without fail: from disposing their protective clothing, washing and disinfecting anything they bring with them.
And the process is repeated multiple times, with each visiting staff member.
“Every time someone comes in, they have to go through the whole process of disinfection. The amount of protective gear they go through, just to support me is unbelievable. I feel guilty, as you hope that they are safe.”
He also sang praises of the hospital facilities, stating it as “one of the [cleanest], modern and organized hospital rooms [he has] ever seen”.
“It’s real, it’s intense”: Urge public to take COVID-19 precautious seriously
Living it first hand, Davie emphasises the utmost respect he has for the frontline personnel as well as the system—and seeks to inform of its importance.
“There is a reason people should self isolate, there is a reason why we should practise social distancing, and there is a reason why, if you are sick, you get yourself out of the general population. The system here in Singapore is beyond amazing to witness. But there is a limit to its capacity,” explained Davie.
He attributes it to the management and measures taken by Singapore, which results not other nations will be able to achieve, due to lack of an advanced health system.
Davie urges all to practice what is encouraged—practising social distancing and not to treat it lightly.
“If you saw what is going on the inside, you’d sober up quite quickly on the reality that our medical systems face,” he reminds. “It’s real, it’s intense, people are dying and the medical staff are risking their lives to save yours.”
Suspected COVID-19 Patient