The IDF will open two coronavirus wards at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman said on Thursday.
Zilberman said the new coronavirus wards will become operational within two weeks and will be able to treat dozens of patients at once. He also said that the military will launch an awareness campaign promoting compliance with health directives as part of the national efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
This will be the first time the military, which has a rich history of extraterritorial humanitarian relief missions across the globe, treats civilians within the country's borders.
According to Zilberman, the IDF had to allocate much manpower to tackle the spread of the pathogen as thousands of active and reserve troops were moved to fulfill law enforcement and medical assignments.
The Israeli healthcare system has been increasingly strained by a growing number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, with over 800 civilians already receiving treatment across the country's hospitals.
Earlier on Thursday, a senior health care provider warned that Israel's health maintenance organizations [HMOs] may collapse due to the massive workload caused by the COVID-19 pandemic before hospitals would.
In an interview at the Ynet studio, Southern District General Director at Maccabi Healthcare Services Keren Shechter Azulay said HMOs - which are responsible for tens of thousands of coronavirus patients who are receiving treatment outside of hospitals - may soon fail to provide optimal treatment to all patients as the recent influx of newly diagnosed patients puts a strain on HMO staff
Shechter Azulay stressed the importance of reducing the number of active patients as Maccabi, alongside other major health service organizations such as Clalit, is treating over 65,000 patients – 98% of whom are receiving treatment at home.