On Sunday, a senior official of the Health Ministry warned that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus would continue pushing up the number of patients in serious condition. This would strain the hospitals in Israel and force them to reduce the non-essential treatments they provide. Even though the fifth wave of infections that were fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant does appear to be slowing down, there has been a rise in the number of patients in serious condition. According to the unnamed official, it would take a couple of weeks for the steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases to bring down the number of seriously ill patients as well.
In the short-term, this number will continue to rise. The official said that to prepare for this expected influx of patients, the health care system would cut down any treatments and surgical procedures that are non-urgent in the next three weeks. The official added that hospitals would experience another two to three difficult weeks and said that they didn’t expect the total number of serious cases to exceed the 1,300 mark. However, he did say that if the number was higher, they lack the tools that are needed for putting a stop to such an increase due to which they don’t have a red line.
As per the official, the only strategy for combating this rise in seriously ill patients is to cut down the non-essential treatments and surgeries in hospitals, even if it can have serious consequences for people being treated, because they don’t really have a choice. In the previous waves of the coronavirus, the number of patients in serious condition usually lagged about two weeks behind the rate of overall infection as the wave waned. Regardless, the official was also optimistic that there would be a slowdown in the number of seriously ill patients in the near future.
Plus, there would also be a drop in the number of doctors and patients who have been quarantined because of infection. One of the biggest challenges of the current wave for hospitals was the number of medical staff that had to be quarantined, which had impacted the ability of maintaining ongoing activities. On Monday morning, the figures released by the Health Ministry showed that the total number of patients in serious condition was 1,099, which was an increase of 7 from the night before. The total number of patients in hospitals due to the coronavirus was 2,683 and about 332 of these people were in serious condition.
The total number of medical staff in quarantine is about 7,576 and this includes 2,493 nurses and 1,078 doctors. The overall bed capacity of the medical centers and hospitals in the country was about 69.6%. However, the seriously ill patients of coronavirus put a strain on hospitals because a greater number of medical staff is needed per patient. The number of these patients was 101 in the beginning of the month and has crossed the 1,000 mark. But, the daily case load has declined from 80,000 recorded in the last week to 74,312 on Sunday.