The government agency coordinating Israel’s response to the coronavirus has warned that 60 senior living centers throughout the country have at least one case of COVID-19, Israeli television reported Wednesday.
According to Channel 12 news, the warning from the National Security Council was included in a document sent Sunday to numerous government ministries and the chief of the Israel Defense Forces, which is helping provide assistance to elderly living facilities.
“According to the estimation of the Health Ministry this number will grow in the coming days,” the document reportedly says.
The National Security Council recommended that migrants be allowed to work in the facilities as caretakers for the elderly residents and that health workers enlist some medical students to help ease the burden on them, according to the report.
It also advised that all new workers at senior living homes be tested before entering the facilities, the report said.
According to the network’s figures, 43 residents of senior living homes have died from the coronavirus, over a third of the 126 deaths from COVID-19 in Israel.
The novel coronavirus has been spreading quickly in nursing homes around the country, raising intense concern for the safety of their residents. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, with most fatalities in Israel and abroad over 70 years of age.
On Wednesday, the 14th resident of the Mishan assisted living facility in Beersheba died from the virus.
Police have reportedly opened an investigation into Mishan for allegedly neglecting residents during the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s Office asked the Defense Ministry and Home Front Command to assist the Health Ministry with operational aspects of nursing homes. In addition, the Health Ministry has appointed Ronni Gamzu, director general of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, to coordinate between government departments and formulate a national plan of action for assisted living facilities as the death toll continues to rise.
As of Wednesday, there have been have 12,200 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel and 126 deaths.
According to the Health Ministry, 176 people were in serious condition, 132 of them on ventilators. Another 173 were in moderate condition, with the vast majority displaying mild symptoms. The ministry said 2,309 have recovered from the virus.