First coronavirus ward staffed by IDF to open Sunday at Rambam Hospital

Ward will be staffed by 140 personnel from the IDF’s medical corps and will treat patients in moderate-serious condition

IDF toops trai to staff Rambam Hospital coronavirus ward (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF toops trai to staff Rambam Hospital coronavirus ward
The IDF will begin treating novel coronavirus patients at the underground parking lot of Rambam Hospital in Haifa on Sunday, a week earlier than planned.
The underground parking lot has been transformed into patient bays that can treat some 770 patients. The 140 doctors, paramedics, nurses and medics from the military will staff the ward, which will be treating patients in moderate to serious condition.
Col. Dr. Erez Karp, Commander of Operations at Rambam told The Jerusalem Post that though only one ward will open on Sunday, a second ward will open next week if needed and a third can open at a later date, “but that looks to be unnecessary right now.”
Israel currently has 61,049 active cases and 1,824 people have died.
When the ward opens, the first patients will come from across northern Israel but it can also take in patients from hospitals around the country where wards are filling up, Karp explained.
The personnel will come from all over the IDF’s medical corps, with some doctors specializing in certain fields like internal or family medicine and nurses specializing in emergency medicine.
“We will provide our patients will excellent care,” Karp said. He expects the level of care to be “To the high standards of Rambam, even better if possible.”
According to Karp, if a third ward is opened the military will need to take more career officers from the medical corps to staff the ward rather than call up reserves which could hurt the health system, which is already under heavy stress treating the thousands of Israelis sick with the coronavirus and other illnesses.
While the military had originally said that the IDF decided to collaborate with the hospital in Haifa due to the high number of cases in Israel’s north – which had been hit particularly hard at the beginning of the second wave – according to Karp that is no longer the case.
“The numbers have gone down in recent days,” he said. “Rambam already has a great underground infrastructure and a war room and we are only bringing the manpower to run it. The basic infrastructure was already there. It was an opportunity to take what there already was and treat corona patients.”
Karp, who is also the medical commander of the Northern Command, also explained that in addition to having experience in treating COVID-19 patients, Rambam is the main hospital used by the IDF when a war breaks out in the north.
“This is the hospital we use during war... We trust each other,” he said.