A chief physician at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv has tested positive for the novel coronavirus after working in a ward that treated patients suspected to have contracted the pathogen.
The doctor had reportedly been walking around the ward, where dozens of elderly patients in poor health are being treated, freely for two days before being tested for the virus, despite feeling ill in the previous days.
The physician's spouse was also reported to have been feeling ill recently and may have been the source of the infection.
Upon receiving the positive results, the hospital informed the patients in the ward that they will be put under a 14-day quarantine in a different ward. The medical personnel who may have also been exposed to the pathogen were sent home for self-quarantine.
During the passing week, several patients suspected to have contracted the coronavirus have been treated in one of the hospital's wards in negative pressure rooms.
Some visitors claimed that the isolation between the patients and medical staff was not enforced properly and that the same staff also treated patients outside the ward.
One of the patients is said to have walked along the hospital's corridors before being put back in quarantine by security.
A Ynet investigation revealed that many coronavirus patients in Israel who are supposed to be hospitalized in dedicated quarantine areas are actually being treated in internal wards of Israeli hospitals.
The Health Ministry has ordered all coronavirus patients in the country to be treated only in negative pressure rooms, an isolation technique used in medical centers.
Most such rooms, however, are located inside the hospitals and not in dedicated quarantine areas, set up at the start of the outbreak at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv and other medical centers across Israel.
Negative pressure rooms are normally occupied by elderly patients, making them vulnerable to accidentally contracting the virus.