Police have reportedly opened an investigation into a senior living home in southern Israel for allegedly neglecting residents amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As of Friday, 12 residents have died from COVID-19 at the Mishan facility in Beersheba, the assisted living center in Israel worst hit by the virus.
According to Channel 13 news, police will probe Mishan for suspected neglect of helpless elderly people.
The report said the investigation was opened after relatives of residents filed a police complaint against Mishan, which operates numerous assisted living facilities throughout Israel.
A television report last week said relatives of Mishan residents were also planning to file a lawsuit for alleged neglect.
The launching of the investigation came as the grandson of Lea Schwartz, an 85-year-old resident of the facility who died of the virus Friday, accused Mishan of not sufficiently quarantining those who were sick.
נפטרת מספר 12 מהדיור המוגן משען בב"ש: ליאה שוורץ בת 85, שורדת שואה, מהחלוצים שעלו עם קום המדינה. המשפחה: "מאוד כועסים על התנהלות של משען שהתעלמו, זו הייתה רשלנות גם של משרד הבריאות. אם בשלבים הראשונים היו מקפידים על בידוד ובדיקות אולי לא היינו מגיעים למצב הזה" pic.twitter.com/BXqsOctnJs
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“We’re really angry about the conduct of Mishan, there was negligence there,” Regev Rates was quoted saying by the network.
He also faulted the Health Ministry for not testing for the virus at the facility earlier.
“If in the initial stages they were strict about quarantining and the Health Ministry would come with [medical experts] that know how to do deal with this, maybe we wouldn’t have gotten to this situation of a chain of infection,” Rates said.
On Thursday, the Health Ministry announced it started a testing program for elder care facilities where residents or staff members have been diagnosed with the virus.
Channel 12 news reported that based on Thursday’s figures, nearly 30 percent of the virus deaths in Israel were at assisted living centers.
The coronavirus has been spreading quickly in nursing homes around the country, raising intense concern for the safety of elderly residents.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office asked the Defense Ministry and Home Front Command to assist the Health Ministry with operational aspects of nursing homes.
The Nofim Tower assisted living center in Jerusalem has also been hard hit by the virus outbreak, with four fatalities from the facility. In addition, there were three deaths at the Bulgarian home in Rishon Lezion and one death at the Viznitz nursing home in Bnei Brak.
There have also been outbreaks at a separate facility run by Mishan in the central city of Holon and at the Freemasons Nursing Home in the northern town of Nahariya.
As of Friday, there have been 10,095 virus cases in Israel and 94 deaths.
Almost all of those who have died from COVID-19 in Israel have been elderly and suffered from preexisting conditions, according to hospital officials.