Virus victim wasn’t tested for days, and then it was too late — granddaughter

Virus victim wasn’t tested for days, and then it was too late — granddaughter

Or Hillel: Authorities refused to test Moshe Hillel, 76, despite his fever, since he hadn’t been near known carrier; he ended up as Israel’s 4th fatality; grandmother in hospital

An ambulance carrying an Israeli man who returned from Italy and tested positive for coronavirus arrives at Tel Hashomer Hospital, February 27, 2020 (Flash 90)
An ambulance carrying an Israeli man who returned from Italy and tested positive for coronavirus arrives at Tel Hashomer Hospital, February 27, 2020 (Flash 90)

The granddaughter of one of Israel’s COVID-19 fatalities said that he died because authorities had for too long refused to check him for coronavirus, until it was too late.

Israel has significantly stepped up the number of coronavirus tests it conducts every day. However, it still heavily prioritizes those who have been near a confirmed carrier of the virus.

Moshe Hillel, 76, on Wednesday became the country’s fourth person to die of the disease, which has killed five people in Israel in total. He died at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, which said he had had serious health issues before contracting the virus.

His granddaughter, Or Hillel, wrote on social media that “he was at home with a fever for too long and they simply refused to test him for the coronavirus because he hadn’t been in contact with a confirmed patient. When they did the test, it was after he was already out of strength.”

סבא שלי הוא חולה מספר 4 שנפטר הלילה כתוצאה מסיבוכים של נגיף הקורונה.זה משפט שבחיים לא חשבתי שאכתוב.כששומעים על זה…

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Or Hillel‎‏ ב- יום רביעי, 25 במרץ 2020

She said her grandmother had also been infected and was currently hospitalized.

It wasn’t clear whether authorities had changed their criteria for virus testing following the case.

Hillel mourned her grandfather as “an exceptional personality who always took care of his children and grandchildren and always wanted us to be well. Always with a smile on his face, laughing and optimistic even during difficult times.”

Hillel continued her post by expressing anger at those who weren’t adhering to the quarantine orders or were venturing outside freely despite Health Ministry orders to stay home.

“Anyone who disregards the instructions may not be hurting themselves but are definitely hurting others,” she wrote. “Vulnerable populations are unbelievably exposed to this virus. For them it’s a matter of life and death, and in our case it ended in death.”

The Health Ministry said Thursday morning the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Israel had climbed to 2,495, an increase of 126 new cases of the disease since the night before.

There were 41 people in serious condition, up two from Wednesday, the ministry said. Another 68 people were in moderate condition and the rest had mild symptoms.

Sixty-six people had fully recovered from the illness, the ministry said.

In the past 24 hours, 5,240 tests were conducted and 59,493 people are currently under mandatory home quarantine over concerns they may have been exposed to the virus, the ministry noted.

Staff, wearing protective gear, handle a coronavirus test sample in Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, Jerusalem on March 24, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The updated ministry figures came after the government tightened lockdown rules and warned violators could face fines and six months of imprisonment.

The emergency regulations, in effect for a seven-day period, include a prohibition on people venturing more than 100 meters from their homes, apart from under certain circumstances, and the shuttering of synagogues.

The regulations (read the full list here) permit leaving home only for essential reasons, including seeking medical care and buying groceries.

In addition, public transportation was reduced to around 25 percent of services and taxis will only be permitted to take one passenger at a time unless the second is an escort for medical reasons. All passengers must sit in the backseat of the vehicle with the windows open.

Restaurant delivery services are allowed to continue; however, takeout is no longer permitted. Shipping and delivery of items bought online can also continue but all packages are to be left outside the door of the residence.

Nonessential stores are to close and parks are to remain shut.

The government on Wednesday also gave police the power to impose fines of NIS 500 or even imprisonment of up to six months for individuals violating these restrictions, as well as larger fines for businesses who do so, including a NIS 5,000 fine for illegally operating public transportation.

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