Rambam Medical Center in Haifa decided to activate its Sammy Ofer underground emergency hospital in order to better handle the coronavirus pandemic and provide appropriate treatment for patients. The strategic decision was made in light of the increasing number of patients and in an attempt to enter the lockdown, expected to begin on Friday, as prepared as possible. Moving the hospital's departments underground will begin next week, hopefully before Yom Kippur, according to a Rambam Hospital spokesperson. Simulations and various tests were made in the underground area in order to acclimate the medical teams to a new working environment and ensure that it can handle all nuances involved in treating coronavirus patients. In the first stage of making the area operational, a few dozen patients will be moved to the underground hospital.The fortified underground hospital was established after the Second Lebanon War, and was built in order to assure a functioning medical center during a rocket attack. Today, it mainly functions as a parking lot. During war, it can hold up to 1,500 patients. The Health Ministry has set the maximum capacity of the facility during the pandemic to 770 patients, including 170 patients on respirators and 600 patients in severe condition. The Rambam Medical Center hopes that this addition will help for better and faster responses to coronavirus patients and for combating the pandemic more effectively as a whole.