Israeli Hospitals to Add 1,500 Beds Amid Overload; 810 in Serious Condition

A member of the medical staff pushes a wheelchair inside a ward that has been converted from an underground parking lot to treat patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as Israel continues to fight the coronavirus crisis with its second national lockdown, at Rambam Health Care Campus, in Haifa, Wednesday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

The Health Ministry reported Wednesday morning that 4,949 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday after 34,352 tests had been conducted.

The number of seriously ill has gone up to 810, of whom 205 are ventilated. According to the Health Ministry, at least 73% of the ventilated are men. Israel’s official death toll from the disease now stands at 1,547.

Since the start of the outbreak in Israel, 239,222 people tested positive for coronavirus; 122,340 of them in September alone. The number of active patients currently ill with the disease stands at 65,149.

At least 16 cities across the country currently have over 1,000 active patients. There are at least 7,188 active cases in Yerushalayim, 4,052 in Bnei Brak, 2,946 in Ashdod, 2,184 in Tel Aviv-Yafo, 1,795 in Petach Tikvah, 1,759 in Netanya, 1,695 in Modi’in Illit, 1,474 in Be’er Sheva, 1,335 in Rishon LeTzion, 1,293 in Haifa, 1,286 in Holon, 1,182 in Rechovot, 1,116 in Elad, 1,059 in Beitar Illit and 1,001 in Ashkelon.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy told hospital administrators on Wednesday there would be 1,500 extra beds added nationwide by mid-October.

A report in August by experts at the Weizmann Institute of Science predicted that hospitals would only be able to handle up to 800  patients in serious condition. Israel crossed that threshold on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said that Israel should be prepared for 1,500 patients in serious condition by Thursday but it was unclear why the sudden spike was expected.

According to Channel 12, there will be 750 extra beds by October 5, with the remaining 750 in place by October 15. Of those beds, 20% will be for patients in critical condition who are on ventilators, while the remaining 80% will be for those in serious, moderate or mild condition.

The report did not specify if any particular medical centers would be targeted for an increase in beds.

Levy told Army Radio that as hospitals became more congested, the level of care for COVID-19 patients would deteriorate due to their complicated medical requirements.

“In order to treat a complex patient like a patient in serious condition with coronavirus, years of [medical] experience are required. As their number increases, we fear that the quality of treatment will decrease,” Levy said.

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