The Health Ministry is concerned that the number of coronavirus patients requiring intensive care may surge and is preparing hospitals for such an event by reassigning hotels to treat patients only displaying light symptoms or no symptoms at all. Hospitals are also being supplied with additional beds and ventilators to meet the demands.
According to the latest figures released by the ministry, there are 37 coronavirus patients in need of intensive care out of Israel's over 2,000 confirmed cases, with 54 patients in moderate condition.
Health Ministry official Dr. Vered Ezra said on Wednesday that preparations are underway to receive thousands of seriously ill patients but claimed there are currently no shortages in medical supplies in hospitals.
"We have thousands of beds and ventilators prepared and are in the process of procuring additional equipment," Dr. Ezra said.
Professor Haim Berkenstadt of the respiratory care department at Sheba Medical Center said that hospitals are currently able to treat hundreds of coronavirus patients in need of respiratory assistance but the health system won't be able to provide proper treatment to all patients if their number climbs to the thousands.
Berkenstadt said the information coming from Italy indicates that patients took a turn for the worst after a few days of illness.
"I really don't know what would happen if hundreds here would need more care," the professor said, "When a patient receives respiratory assistance, it is to replace the work of his lungs in the hope that his body recovers strength since there is no specific treatment for the virus."
Berkenstadt said doctors in Israel are learning from the experience gained in China, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere around the world.
"The situation in Italy is dire with patients dying because they are in need of ventilators," Berkenstadt said.