Israel Expects Thousands of Serious COVID Cases Within Weeks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Cars stand in line waiting to enter a drive-through complex to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus, in Rechovot, on Monday. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israel is preparing for up to 2,400 seriously ill COVID patients in hospitals across the country by mid-September, according to a plan released Wednesday by the Prime Minister’s Office, and is planning to boost hospital staff to cope with the influx.

The plan was approved when Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with senior health officials Tuesday evening as Israel’s infection rate soars at an alarming rate – going from several hundred cases in early June to close to 40,000 by now.

According to the plan, Israel anticipates 4,800 hospitalizations for COVID by Sept. 11 and intends to add hundreds of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals in stages as the numbers increase.

The plan was to be brought to the Coronavirus Cabinet for approval later Wednesday, a day after it was green-lighted at Bennett’s meeting with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Health Ministry Director-General Professor Nachman Ash and public health chief Sharon Alroy-Preis.

The first phase of the plan will see 600 additional medical staff immediately provided for hospitals around the country.

The second phase – set to begin in 10 days when there will be an estimated 1,200 COVID hospitalizations with half in serious condition – will see an additional 100 doctors, 500 nurses and 500 paramedical staff provided.

At the end of August, when there will be an estimated 2,400 COVID hospitalizations – with 1,200 in serious condition – there will be a corresponding increase in medical staff. The same step will be taken by Sept. 11, when the number of hospitalized COVID cases in Israel is expected to rise to 4,800 with 2,400 in serious condition.

Bennett was set to present the plan to hospital chiefs in Tel Aviv on Wednesday afternoon.