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Government earmarks 45 beds to hospital ICUs to ease Omicron crush

Amid worries over a lack of space and manpower to deal with a spike in serious illnesses related to the Omicron wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the government announces that it will allocate 45 more intensive care beds nationwide.

As of Wednesday evening, the last time the Health Ministry updated its coronavirus dashboard, there were 915 coronavirus patients in serious condition, with numbers continuing to climb. Another 1,396 patients were hospitalized in moderate or good condition.

In a prepared statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz all say the government is working to ensure public health while not allowing the virus to disrupt daily life.

“We are aware of the pressure on the system and are working to help and strengthen it,” says Bennett.

“We are providing all of the tools for safeguarding public health and for life alongside the coronavirus. In addition to the vaccines, drugs and tests, strengthening the health system is a main component of our strategy,” adds Horowitz.

Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on January 11, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Three of Israel’s 26 hospitals are currently above capacity, and three more are at 90 percent. Administrators had raised alarms that the health system could be overwhelmed, with the country seeing record numbers of coronavirus cases and already stretched by the seasonal flu.

Bennett claims that Israel is at the peak of the wave of infections, and it will soon ebb. “We are at the height of the wave and soon we will see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he says.

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