Virus reportedly racing through Beersheba old age home, day after resident dies
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Virus reportedly racing through Beersheba old age home, day after resident dies

3 elderly women from Mishan facility hospitalized in serious condition at Soroka Medical Center, in grim echo of situation at Jerusalem assisted living center

View of the Soroka Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. May 12, 2015 (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
View of the Soroka Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. May 12, 2015 (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Three elderly residents of an assisted living facility in the southern city of Beersheba are in serious condition after contracting the novel coronavirus, according to a Hebrew media report Saturday.

The Channel 13 report came a day after another resident of the Mishan facility in Beersheba died of COVID-19 on Friday.

Avraham Aroshas, 93, was brought from the facility to Soroka Medical Center in the city with fever and shortness of breath, the hospital said on Friday morning.

He tested positive for the virus and hours later succumbed to the illness, according to the statement, which noted that he had “complicated and difficult underlying illnesses.”

At least three other people at the facility have tested positive for the virus, including two people who have not shown any symptoms and are in isolation awaiting on a decision regarding hospitalization, according to the report.

The outbreak at the Beersheba facility echoes the situation at the Nofim Tower assisted living center in Jerusalem. Three residents there have died as a result of the coronavirus and 15 residents and staff from the facility in the capital’s Kiryat Yovel neighborhood have been infected.

Elderly care facilities across the world have proven to be particularly susceptible to the pathogen, with residents, many of them with underlying medical conditions, living in close quarters, allowing the virus to spread with alarming ease.

Magen David Adom paramedics, wearing protective clothing as a preventive measure against the coronavirus leave the scene of an emergency call in Jerusalem on March 28, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and lead to death.

There have been 3,619 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Israel, the Health Ministry announced Saturday evening. The tally included 54 patients in serious condition, including 43 requiring mechanical ventilation. Another 81 are in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.

Twelve people have died in Israel from the virus, and on Saturday the Foreign Ministry announced an 82-year-old Israeli tourist died in an Italian hospital after he contracted the virus.

The ministry said a majority of patients, 1,828, were isolating in their homes under monitoring and 484 were currently hospitalized. The remainder were in various care facilities, including specially converted hotels.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Friday that the country could enter into a complete shutdown if there isn’t an improvement in the number of confirmed virus cases in the next two days. The government will convene on Sunday to consider a number of new directives.

Police patrol on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem on March 28, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Since Wednesday at 5 p.m., Israelis have been ordered to remain in their homes unless they are taking part in a small number of specially designated approved activities, including purchasing food and medicine or a short walk of no more than 100 meters (328 feet) from one’s home. Those found violating those regulations are subject to large fines of upwards of NIS 500 ($140) and even imprisonment.

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