The number of seriously ill COVID cases in Israel has skyrocketed within a few short weeks from about 100 to over 800 and tens of thousands of new cases are being confirmed on a daily basis.
The rise in seriously ill patients, along with the fact that about 10,000 medical staffers are in quarantine, is seriously straining Israel’s hospitals, with several hospitals on Sunday warning that they are at the brink of collapse.
The Kaplan Medical Center in Rechovot was forced to block ambulances from bringing patients to its emergency room due to the overload of patients and lack of staff, Ynet reported. And even when it can accept COVID patients, the wait for an empty bed has become interminable.
“There was a patient here who waited 12 hours for a hospital bed in the coronavirus ward,” said Ronit Ilsar, the head of nursing in Kaplan’s Emergency Medicine department. “The truth is that we’ve been forgotten. At first, they supported us and cheered us on. Today… the public no longer cares about COVID, and we’re left with all the work.”
Prof. Stephen Melnik, director of one of the internal medicine wards at Kaplan, said: “Most patients are older, the illest among them are unvaccinated or haven’t received the third dose of the vaccine and there are also two patients who received a fourth vaccine but fell ill shortly afterward.”
“The load is heavy, both professionally and physically. I mostly take my hat off to the auxiliary staff and the nurses who work and work for hours on end,” he added.
Prof. Yoram Weiss, director of Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, said that 380 employees are currently in quarantine. “The result is that we’re constantly compromising on the nursing care for patients,” he said.
However, Prof. Weiss added that the Omicron wave seems milder than previous waves.
“We have 140 patients, but unlike the Delta wave, the illness is less severe,” said Weiss, adding that the current wave should begin to subside toward the end of next week, but hospitals will be overloaded for longer than that.
“It usually takes two weeks for hospitals to feel the calm, certainly when it comes to critical care and intensive care,” he said.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)