Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital has shuttered its coronavirus unit for the time being as the hospital has no more active patients, Dr. Tal Brosh, head of the hospital’s infectious disease unit told The Jerusalem Post.
“The unit still exists, but it is empty,” he said, noting that they are leaving the facility intact in case of a new influx of infected patients. “It is still very dynamic and I predict we are going to have more patients in the near future. The party is not over.”
Assuta Ashdod is the first hospital to make such an announcement. On Thursday, it hung a sign on the unit’s door that read, “Coronavirus Unit: Closed with 0 patients.”
Over the last eight weeks, the hospital treated has 73 coronavirus patients, including some of the country’s youngest, among them a handful in serious condition.
Brosh said that the unit’s staff had been recruited from throughout the hospital and they were now assigned back to their original departments, though they would remain on call.
Ashdod has had 281 coronavirus patients out of its population of 225,073, according to the Health Ministry. So far, 154 people have recovered.
There are six other Israeli hospitals that don’t have any coronavirus patients: Italian Hospital in Nazareth, Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, Schneider Hospital in Tel Aviv, St. Louis French Hospital in Jerusalem, Ziv Medical Center in Safed and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, though none of them have made any similar announcements about their facilities.
On Thursday, Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya closed down “Ward A” of its coronavirus unit and relocated any active patients to “Ward B,” according to a statement by the hospital. Currently, it reported, there are only six patients being treated for corona, among them four from the Arab town of Deir al-Asad, which recently saw a spike in cases.
In general, the number of active patients continues to decrease country wide. Thursday morning numbers reflected 7,239 actives cases, a decrease of 402 from the day before.
Dr. Sabrina Grodzinski, an emergency medical physician who served in Assuta’s coronavirus unit, said that its closing “gives you this false sense of security that everything is fine. If we don’t have a coronavirus department then everything must be fine, but we all know that is not the reality.”
She said it is disconcerting for everything to be so unknown.
Brosh agreed. He said that he expects that with the majority of restrictions lifted, people going back to work and children back to school, “we will see a rise in the number of patients. I just hope that it will be a steady rise and something that will be maintainable – and will not require us to go back to strict isolation and curfews.”