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COVID wards full at four of Israel’s largest hospitals

With Israel coronavirus cases on the rise again (no #5 in the world per capita), the medical system is feeling the strain and authorities are keeping a close watch on the number of patients in serious condition before healthcare facilities are overwhelmed.

Currently the dedicated COVID-19 wards in four Israeli hospitals are maxed out and a fifth hospital is precariously close to reaching its limit as well. The Health Ministry reported that more than 700 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized around the country, including 317 in serious condition and about 100 on ventilators.

Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital COVID ward is operating at 152 percent of its capacity while Shaare Zedek Medical Center is at 106 percent. Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv is at 110 in the virus ward percent and nearby Assaf Harofeh Medical Center said it is at 110 percent.

Hadassah was turning away emergency room walk-in patients and referring them to other hospitals on Monday as the hospital in general is maxed out.

At the moment, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the nation overall has it under control.

“For now, they can handle the serious cases,” he said in a visit to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.

The system is less burdened by patients and more so by the reduced staff, since more than 3,000 medical workers across the country have been forced to quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus, including 468 doctors, 861 nurses and another 1,740 medical workers.

“Every day we receive 14 new coronavirus patients and release a similar number in order to keep up with the pace,” Prof. Galia Rahav head of the Infectious Disease Unit at the Sheba Medical Center, told Channel 12 news. “We constantly have to think of new ways to find space for everyone. The feeling is that we are making a mockery of the work.”

Israel has been struggling to regain control of the virus after flattening the curve in May and reopening schools, houses of worship and other sectors of the economy. Some services have been closed or scaled back again after reopening, adding confusion and damaging the public’s confidence in the government’s handle on the crisis.

As of Monday, the national death toll from the coronavirus stood at 473. Despite being number five in the world regarding infections per million people, Israel is number forty in deaths per million. Less than one out one hundred in Israel have died from Coronavirus, whereas in the U.S. it is 3.4 people out of every 100.

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