Three Elderly Residents Die Amid COVID-19 Outbreak in Northern Israeli Facility

Virus spreads after employee tests positive as a carrier of the British variant

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
The Atzulat Beit Haemek geriatric facility, in northern Israel's Galilee.
The Atzulat Beit Haemek geriatric facility, in northern Israel's Galilee.Credit: Rami Shllush
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Some 40 residents of a geriatric facility in northern Israel’s Kibbutz Beit Ha’emek near Nahariya have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past two weeks. Three of these peoplel have died.

The outbreak at Atzulat Beit Ha’emek began about a week after most residents had already received their first of two doses of a COVID-19 inoculation. About 15 staff memberrs have also become ill with the virus.

The facility’s director, Bashir Khoury, said the outbreak occurred after an employee was diagnosed as a carrier of the more contagious British variant of the virus.

Since the infected person had contact beyond her own department, residents of another department were also tested.

The infected residents, most of whom are in their 80s and 90s, were moved to a coronavirus department set up at the facility. Some were also moved to hotels accommodating coronavirus patients.

These patients have recovered and returned to Atzulat Beit Ha’emek. None of the residents is currently in hospital.

Khoury said the outbreak occurred about two weeks after the residents received their first vaccine shots. Maximum protection from the vaccine is only achieved a week after the second shot is administered.

The three patients who died were in serious condition due to other risk factors, he said.

Prior to this outbreak, there had been two other cases of coronavirus at the facility.

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