Israeli hospitals told to prepare for Omicron's worst as infections rise

Health Ministry chief Ash tells medical centers to prepare to reopen dedicated wards immediately, as well as maintain additional wings to meet demand; latest data yet to show any rise in hospitalizations

Nina Fox, Adir Yanko , Attila Somfalvi|Updated:
As coronavirus cases in Israel, spurred by the Omicron variant, continue to rise — hospitals across the country were told to start making preparation for a possible similar uptick in hospitalizations.
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  • In a letter titled "Preparation for a Fifth Wave", Health Ministry director-general Prof. Nachman Ash warned Israel's medical centers and health funds that morbidity figures were expected to exceed that of previous infection waves, which will be compounded by winter illnesses such as the flu.
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    מחלקת קורונה בית חולים בילינסון
    מחלקת קורונה בית חולים בילינסון
    Rabin Medical Center's coronavirus ward
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Dr. Eran Rothman, CEO of Rabin Medical Center, said there is already an increase in patients suffering from seasonal illnesses.
    "The possibility of a surge in COVID cases in addition to flu and pneumonia will put a heavy strain on medical teams," he said.
    Ash asked hospitals to prepare to reopen coronavirus wards once again after most were shuttered in early October as the Delta wave subsided.
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    מתחם בדיקות קורונה בגני התערוכה בתל אביב
    מתחם בדיקות קורונה בגני התערוכה בתל אביב
    A drive through coronavirus testing site in Tel Aviv late last month
    (Photo: Yuval Chen)
    "All hospitals must be prepared to receive COVID-19 patients on short notice and once their dedicated wards reach an 80% capacity, they must be able to open additional wings to meet the demand," Ash wrote.
    The latest data released by the ministry does not indicate a rise in hospitalizations. Currently, only 130 people are being treated for coronavirus, with 81 of them in serious condition, out of which 41 are connected to ventilators — the lowest it has been since July.


    First published: 13:48, 12.21.21
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