A senior health care provider warned on Thursday 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 and resources.
"It's sexier seeing wards, tubes and parking lots [converted into coronavirus wards] … but HMOs manage tens of thousands of patients without being able to monitor their condition at any given moment," she said.
"Each hospital is responsible for a few dozen patients with [medical] teams, however, HMO waiting rooms are full, and we have to monitor patients' condition daily. Doctors end their shifts at the clinic and then must continue working nights and weekends to see new patients. We're seeing a real collapse here."
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.
"We'll only see the fruits of lockdown in two weeks, therefore the importance of following it is immense. We must continue to protect ourselves and abide by the rules and understand that the situation is not simple at all."
Meanwhile, Israel saw over 9,000 new daily coronavirus cases after health authorities conducted a record-breaking number of tests, the Health Ministry reported on Thursday.
The ministry said that one in seven people had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday after conducting 68,128 tests, putting the contagion rate at 13.6%, a slight drop from a day earlier.
The number of patients in serious condition now stands at 854, 206 of whom are ventilated. Israel coronavirus death toll stood at 1,571.
Since the start of the outbreak, 248,133 Israelis have tested positive for the pathogen. The figure almost doubled over the past month with 116,882 virus cases confirmed by September 1.