Hospital staff at the Sharon Hospital near Tel Aviv
Hospital staff at the Sharon Hospital near Tel Aviv
Photo: Rami Zerenger
Medical staff at Sharon Hospital near Tel Aviv

Health official tells hospitals to prepare to treat coronavirus cases only

Dr. Erez unsure country's intensive care units could cope with influx of thousands of serious COVID-19 patients requiring respiratory assistance; all elective procedures brought to a halt

Adir Yanko |
Published: 03.29.20 , 20:29
Head of the Medical Administration in the Health Ministry Dr. Vered Ezra said on Sunday she was concerned a surge in the number of severe coronavirus cases looms and asked hospitals to prepare to exclusively treat cases of coronavirus.
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  • "We see an increase in the number of patients needing respiratory assistance, currently standing at 54 patients, which could be an indication of more to come," Ezra told reporters in a briefing Sunday.
    Hospital staff at the Sharon Hospital near Tel AvivHospital staff at the Sharon Hospital near Tel Aviv
    Medical staff at Sharon Hospital near Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Rami Zerenger)
    We are preparing for 100% bed occupancy for coronavirus patients and have instructed hospitals to prepare for up to 5,000 such cases. This is a terrible scenario and I have been losing much sleep over it because I don't know how we would cope."
    "We have already cut down hospital care for most non-coronavirus patients, having stopped all elective procedures with consultations taking place only over the phone or online," Ezra said.
    הערכת מצב במשרד הבריאותהערכת מצב במשרד הבריאות
    Dr. Vered Ezra (left) Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    Dr. Ezra believes people who live in crowded living conditions must be moved to dedicated hotels requisitioned by the Defense Ministry to treat coronavirus patients, referring to mostly ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods where families live in close quarters and quarantine is difficult to observe. These neighborhoods have been identified as hot spots for the virus' spread.
    בית חולים השרוןבית חולים השרון
    Remote supervision of coronavirus ward at Sharon Hospital near Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Rami Zerneger)
    "People who care for their families' welfare should remove themselves to these hotels," she said.
    Since clusters of the virus were also identified in senior living accommodations, Ezra said, "there is no point in testing all residents of such establishments and only those presenting symptoms must be tested," claiming the operation should be conducted under the supervision of the Defense Ministry.
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