Hospital director: 'A lockdown won't change anything'

Dr. Michael Halberthal, head of Rambam Health Care Campus, says worst coronavirus cases are among unvaccinated, lockdown won't change anything.

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Police checkpoint for coronavirus lockdown
Police checkpoint for coronavirus lockdown
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Dr. Michael Halberthal, General Director and CEO of Haifa's Rambam Health Care Campus, spoke Monday about the current coronavirus infection rate, saying that he does not believe a lockdown will help stabilize the situation.

In an interview with 103 FM Radio, Dr. Halberthal said: "When we look at the effect of the lockdown on the third wave, essentially, it didn't do much. What made the difference was the vaccines. This statistic tells us explicitly that declaring a lockdown without significant enforcement and understanding on the part of the population - the likelihood that it will make an impact is not high."

Regarding his hospital's coronavirus patients, Dr. Halberthal said: "In our coronavirus wards we have 65 patients, 12 of them were admitted in the last 24 hours. Of those hospitalized, 46 are in serious and critical condition, with 19 of them intubated and one on an ECMO machine."

"Out of all the 65, 60% of them are vaccinated, but when you look at it by severity, of the 13 patients in the ICU, only three are vaccinated. The worse the illness gets, the less vaccinated individuals you see. We have a 97-year-old woman who is vaccinated and her condition is pretty decent, and we have a 20-year-old woman who is unvaccinated and her condition is critical."

When asked whether the curve of seriously ill patients is flattening, he said: "We in the hospital do not see that yet, we see the rise continuing. Between yesterday and today there has been a greater rise in the number of seriously ill patients. Since the start of the current wave, since July 1, 27 people died already, but the majority died within the last 10 days."

"Right now, the hospital is overflowing. Yesterday afternoon, there were 140 people in the emergency room, 30 something patients waiting for hospitalization, and many patients with coronavirus. That creates an overload and a great operational challenge for the hospital. We can add to that the advancement of infections within the staff: The hospital has 67 staff members in quarantine, 60 of them confirmed to have coronavirus. That's very problematic."

When asked if his hospital could continue accepting coronavirus patients, Dr. Halberthal said: "I can continue accepting as many as necessary, but that has consequences when it comes to compromising on quality, and also on the staff who are frustrated, tired, and exhausted. There are connected vessels between coronavirus patients and those who are not coronavirus [patients]. We are juggling all the time."



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