Winter ailments have driven an overwhelming number of patients to Israel’s hospitals, leading an official to call on the public Monday to stay away from emergency rooms unless there was no other way to obtain medical attention.
On Sunday many hospitals declared they had reached reached or exceeded full capacity, with medical centers in Jerusalem, Haifa, Tiberias, Ashkelon, Tel Aviv and Holon reporting overcrowding that in some cases reached 150 percent of their maximum.
Jerusalem’s Shaare Tzedek Medical Center reported a peak of 130% capacity in its internal departments and Ichilov Hospital at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv reached 120%.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it had increased the number of crews on standby to try to meet the demand.
A government medical official told Israel Radio those who feel unwell should go to their local family doctors rather than the hospital.
The current wave is a seasonal phenomenon as winter brings with it a spate of flu, lung infections and other ailments.