Israeli hospitals have to prepare for an influx of nearly 5,000 coronavirus patients within weeks, half of whom will need acute care to deal with severe bouts of COVID-19, health officials have warned Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to reports Wednesday.
The dire predictions came during a Tuesday meeting between Bennett and senior health experts amid a major influx of new cases, prompting the premier to back a plan to expand hospital capacity, a signal that the government will look to absorb the crush of severe cases head-on rather than attempt to swerve out of its way.
Senior Health Ministry officials and other experts presented Bennett with data forecasting some 4,800 coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization by September 10. The experts expect half of the patients to be seriously ill, putting a major strain on Israel’s health system, according to Hebrew-language media reports on the closed-door meeting.
Israel has seen new case numbers skyrocket in recent weeks from a few dozen a day to over 6,000 on Monday. Another 5,755 were diagnosed on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said Wednesday morning, bringing the number of active cases to 38,942.