Serious COVID-19 Cases in Israel Top 800, Upper Limit Set by Health Ministry

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Medical staff members at a coronavirus ward Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem, September 21, 2020.
Medical staff members at a coronavirus ward Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem, September 21, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, the number of Israeli patients hospitalized in serious condition in Israel has passed 800, a Health Ministry document shows, a number defined in the past by the health system as the "limit for system failure."

Passing this number, the health system said, will cause deficiencies in care for coronavirus patients and make other hospital functions more difficult.

A document published by the Health Ministry, which includes data as of 1 P.M., says there are currently 811 patients in serious condition.

Last week, a senior health system official said that the true limit that hospitals can handle is about 1,200 to 1,300 patients in serious condition. On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the health system is expecting to see 1,500 patients in serious condition from October 1.   

A report released by the IDF’s military intelligence branch on Tuesday said that the number of people dying of COVID-19 in Israel is higher on a per capita basis than in the United States, for the first time since the pandemic began. Israel also has a higher infection and mortality rate per million people than the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Austria and South Korea.

Israel conducts the highest number of coronavirus tests per capita out of all these countries, but also takes the top spot for the rate of positive test results, at 14.8 percent, the report states.

According to a report from recent days by the so-called “barometer team” that monitors the situation in hospitals, about 10-15 percent of all emergency room beds and 40 percent of internal medicine beds in every hospital are being used to treat coronavirus patients.

The burden is felt mostly on small and medium-size hospitals and in hospitals in areas at the center of coronavirus outbreaks. For example, at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem in Jerusalem, on Monday morning, 112 coronavirus patients were hospitalized, 25 of them in serious condition. Out of 216 internal medicine beds, about 90 are occupied by coronavirus patients.

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