Some 24 elderly patients were infected with coronavirus in an outbreak at the Laniado Hospital in Netanya in recent days, according to Army Radio. The source of the mass infection was unknown as of Wednesday morning, and the hospital is struggling to track the outbreak as they have run out of testing kits.
The hospital was forced to open a new coronavirus ward for the two dozen infected patients. The hospital is only able to conduct a few hundred coronavirus tests per day and had run out of testing kits as of Wednesday morning, making quick testing difficult.
Prof. Tzvi Shimoni, medical director of Laniado, told Army Radio that most of the 24 patients who have been confirmed as infected with coronavirus are asymptomatic.
The hospital found the outbreak after a geriatric patient was sent to the emergency room and found to be infected with the coronavirus. The hospital subsequently conducted mass testing in the geriatric wing and found the other coronavirus patients.
Shimoni expected the patients to be transferred to geriatric coronavirus units outside the hospital to allow Laniado to accept additional coronavirus patients.
Some staff members who worked in the geriatric wing were found to have the virus as well, but were also mostly asymptomatic. Shimoni stressed that with this amount of people, an epidemiological investigation would most likely not be able to find where the infection originated.
The health director explained to Army Radio that there is a nationwide shortage of testing kits, not just at Laniado. The hospital generally receives 400 kits every week, but the Health Ministry informed them this week that there was a national shortage as the Health Ministry ordered 10,000 kits but only received 4,000. The hospital only received 200 kits this week.
The lack of testing kits is impairing the hospital's ability to track the outbreak efficiently, as it also continues to struggle with an overloaded number of patients.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Laniado was reporting that its coronavirus ward was 17% over capacity, and Galilee Medical Center was reporting that its ward was 27%. Almost all the other major hospitals showed that they were at 80% to 95% capacity.
Maayan-Jaffe Hoffman contributed to this report.