Israel: 206,332 Cases, 1,335 Deaths: Hospitals Operating With 1/3 Of Usual Staff

Coronavirus ward at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa (Photo: Rambam Medical Center)

Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed 6,808 new coronavirus cases on Thursday morning in the previous 24 hours, with a record high of 12.9% positive virus tests.

There are currently 56,901 active virus cases, with 667 seriously ill patients, of whom 164 are ventilated. The death toll has risen to 1,335.

Israel’s cabinet approved a stricter lockdown in Israel that will begin on Friday at 2 p.m.

Dr. Rey Biton, the chairman of Israel’s Association for Medical Interns, told the coronavirus committee on Wednesday that hospitals are operating with only one-third of their usual staff since so many medical professionals are in quarantine. Additionally, many doctors and nurses are stuck at home due to lack of childcare.

“Out of 21 major hospitals in Israel, only five or six provide childcare for staff,” Biton said. “And, of course, that’s only for staff who work in the hospitals, which means that doctors who work in community clinics are left in the cold. So many doctors, who are so needed right now, are stuck at home.”

Over 4,000 medical staffers are currently in quarantine and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein ordered paramedics to provide backup to hospitals. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is also considering passing a law mandating doctors in the private health system to work in public hospitals during the pandemic.

Coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu said on Thursday that he is opposed to tighter restrictions, saying the economic harm will be grave but added that the government has the authority to make that decision and he respects that.

“It’s a message to the public,” Gamzu said. “If the government reached the point of imposing a hermetic closure of all commercial and economic activity, that indicates how widely the infections have spread.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)