Ziv Medical Center's coronavirus ward

Health Ministry DG calls for restrictions as COVID morbidity refuses to ebb

Prof. Nachman Ash warns hospitals may soon be unable to treat all critically ill as healthcare system's resources stretched thin, with unvaccinated individuals accounting for most severe cases

Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 09.23.21, 11:13
Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash called on Thursday for the government to impose more stringent restrictions on public gatherings as coronavirus morbidity and hospitalizations remained high.
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  • "I would downsize big gatherings, like soccer stadiums, to a point where only 400 people are allowed indoors and 500 outdoors," he said.
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    מחלקת הקורונה בבית החולים צפת
    מחלקת הקורונה בבית החולים צפת
    Ziv Medical Center's coronavirus ward
    (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
    Ash called on ministers to convene the coronavirus cabinet, which has not met in nearly two weeks, to discuss the issue, adding that the pandemic in Israel is not on a downward trajectory.
    "[The rising morbidity] is mainly among unvaccinated [individuals] who develop severe symptoms," he said.
    Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported Thursday morning that 5,921 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus out of 106,913 tests carried out on Wednesday, putting the country's infection rate at 5.64%.
    Out of 69,076 active patients in Israel, 723 were hospitalized in serious condition, of them, 197 patients were connected to ventilators.
    The death toll since the start of the pandemic stood at 7,592.
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    מסיבת עיתונאים במשרד הבריאות
    מסיבת עיתונאים במשרד הבריאות
    Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Asked whether the government is ignoring the ongoing high morbidity rate, Ash said that he does not think the issue is being overlooked, adding that many steps are being taken with the aim of keeping the economy and schools open.
    During a meeting Wednesday ahead of the restart of the school year next week following the High Holidays season, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israeli children must not have their school days cut in any way, "lest we raise a generation of zombies."
    The top Health Ministry official also noted that the persistent rise in severe virus cases is stretching the healthcare system's resources thin.
    "There is a limit to what the teams can do, we are standing on the precipice," he said. "We are still able to treat everyone, but if the numbers keep climbing, we are going to need to make some difficult decisions. Most of the severely ill are unvaccinated, they are inundating hospitals, it is important to get inoculated."
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