Israel’s Hospitals Groaning Under Weight As Virus Cases Spike


Hospitals in central Israel are seeing a soaring rate of hospital admissions amid the second wave of the coronavirus, with dozens of MDA ambulances transferring patients to hospitals, Ynet reported.

There is increased activity at emergency rooms at multiple hospitals including Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer and hospitals in Tel Aviv, Holon and Ashdod.

“The second wave is already being felt,” said the director of Ichilov’s Emergency Medicine Division, Dr. Moshe Sharist. “We are seeing far more confirmed [coronavirus] patients than we did in the quiet weeks. We have a quick testing kit for suspected patients that gives us an answer within two or three hours.”

However, Sharist added that although there are more coronavirus cases in the emergency rooms “we do not yet have the same number of critically ill patients we had at the beginning of the pandemic,” saying that patients arrive at the ER to ensure they don’t require hospitalization and many of them are discharged to home after being examined.

“This is a multi-casualty event,” said a doctor at Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center (formerly Assaf Harofeh) near Tel Aviv, where 33 coronavirus patients were hospitalized on Sunday, with many others arriving at the hospital to get tested. “Unfortunately, at this stage, there are already a lot more patients than medical staff.”

Many ambulances with coronavirus patients arrived at Sheba on Sunday night and some had to wait in the ambulance until a new bed was vacated for them.

“We have a lot of patients, including confirmed cases and those who are suspected of being carriers,” said a nurse at Sheba. “There are also less serious cases waiting to be taken to a hotel dedicated to coronavirus patients. The second wave starts at the bottom, not in the ICU but in the emergency rooms.”

The Health Ministry announced on Sunday that no further coronavirus patients would be accepted for treatment at Wolfson Hospital in Holon, Ma’ayanei Hayeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak or at Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center due to lack of space.

The MDA hotline reported a 300% jump in calls over the weekend, with almost 40,000 calls just over the weekend

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)