Two hospitals stop accepting COVID-19 patients

Two hospitals stop accepting COVID-19 patients


There are nearly 1,300 people being treated in the country’s hospitals, including some 643 who are in serious condition.

(L-R) Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Photo credits: Flash 90 / Marc Israel Sellem) / (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)

Two of the country’s hospitals were forced to stop accepting coronavirus patients on Monday as Health Minister director-general Chezy Levy called on hospitals to cease offering elective surgeries and other services in order to better focus on coronavirus patients.

“This is urgent,” he said in a letter to the CEOs of Israel’s hospitals. He said that the staff was needed to focus on the coronavirus patients who are in serious condition. “I expect everyone to act with personal responsibility and determination.”

His letter came as Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital’s spokesperson disseminated a message that “Assuta Ashdod Hospital is at maximum occupancy. The situation is clear and the Health Ministry and Magen David Adom are aware. Verified patients who arrive at the hospital will be transferred to another facility.”

Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek expressed the same message.
And in the Galilee, director-general of Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Dr. Masad Barhoum, announced that his hospital would open a fourth coronavirus ward by Tuesday at the expense of an internal medicine ward.
“This is the second internal medicine ward that is becoming a coronavirus ward,” Barhoum said. “We will have to use anesthetics as part of a [coronavirus] team to treat serious patients, so we will have no choice but to postpone elective surgery.”

At the time of this writing, 89 patients were hospitalized in the Galilee Medical Center, nearly 50 in serious condition, including 14 who were intubated.

On Monday, the Health Ministry reported that 2,565 new cases were diagnosed on the second day of the Rosh Hashanah holiday. However, only around 24,000 people were screened, meaning roughly 10.5% of those tested were positive for the virus.

There are nearly 1,300 people being treated in the country’s hospitals, including some 643 who are in serious condition.
The country shutdown over Rosh Hashanah for what is expected to be a three-week closure. However, as many health experts have pointed out, the closure has a lot of flexibility of movement for citizens and is not expected to reduce morbidity very fast.

Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu said last week that this type of lockdown could only be expected to reduce morbidity to around 3,000 patients per day at the end of three weeks.

The coronavirus cabinet is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss tightening restrictions, such as adding significant restrictions on work in the private sector, tightening enforcement in synagogues and/or requiring prayers to be held only in open spaces, among others. Any new restrictions are expected to be implemented only after Yom Kippur.

During the first wave, hospitals were asked to cease all non-essential medical services, too, and many people who required treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes did not receive the health services and medicines they needed.

“When diagnoses are not made, treatments start later and people present [themselves at the hospital] with more severe diseases,” Arnon Afek, deputy director-general of Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, said in a previous interview. “The result is that patients will be sicker when they come in for care and more deaths.”

Despite the spike in patients, much of the public continues to break Health Ministry regulations. On Monday, N12 visited a neighborhood in Bnei Brak where a Talmud Torah was open despite instructions that the education system remain closed.

In addition, media reports and social media showed that several businesses across the country opened despite fines of up to NIS 5,000 and against Health Ministry rules.

Gamzu spoke to Israel Radio on Monday morning, too, calling on the public to stop gathering.

“All the people who gather and look for loopholes – you have to understand, and I really trust the Israelis – this is our test at the moment,” he said. “This does not suit us, this is not [how] our country [acts]. The people need to wake up.”

He also lashed out at protesters, who continue to gather in large groups, many without masks.

“We need to understand that we are in an emergency – this is a war,” he said. “”We [may end] this week with 800 critically ill patients, and that requires a change in the behavior of all of us.”

When asked if the demonstrations could be a corona incubator, Gamzu answered that “it can be. Any gathering can be contagious – it doesn’t matter what kind of gathering.”

He said that “people from another sector see a demonstration and tell themselves that people can be gathered in a similar way anywhere else in the country… When we take 1,000 people, there is a good chance that there is a corona patient among the demonstrators,” he added. “We currently need to focus on one goal: reducing morbidity. There will be time for demonstrations afterwards.”

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