Corona reinforcements: Israeli paramedics enlisted in emergency rooms for wave of infections

Paramedics to be assigned to hospital emergency rooms in preparation for winter wave of infections.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel’s Ministry of Health has decided to recruit paramedics to bolster emergency room manpower at hospitals due to the expectation of the annual winter wave of flu infections, Channel 20 news reported Monday.

Health Ministry director general Prof. Hezi Levy is pushing the move to alleviate the expected loads in the coming months starting with 20 paramedics who can be immediately added to emergency departments.

Most paramedics in Israel are employed by the Magen David Adom national ambulance service or in other pre-hospital settings.

During the first wave of coronavirus infections, the Ministry of Health sought to promote a similar initiative, recruiting 170 paramedics to reinforce emergency rooms and coronary wards.

“In the state of Israel there are more than 3,000 trained paramedics, and most of them are not partners in the national [coronavirus] campaign, said David Yelinek, chairman of Israel’s national Association of Paramedics, who added that hundreds of paramedics don’t work for large organizations.

“From a national point of view, they can be used as a force multiplier. There is no reason why paramedics should not take part in the national coronavirus campaign. This is a component in solving the manpower problem and it’s  right in our hand.”

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Levy has also been discussing the authorization of both paramedics and military medics to assist in giving flu vaccinations at Israel’s HMOs.

“We are setting up a core group  of warehouses, including from the military, and will allow for exceptional medical action for medics and paramedics, so we can finish the vaccinations in less than a month,” Levy said. “In the winter we will also add physician assistants and paramedics are definitely part of that plan.”

Israel is still in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus infections. On Monday the Health Ministry announced there were 962 new cases detected in the past day with 21,914 people in Israel currently infected.

Of those, 877 are hospitalized with 411 people listed in serious condition and of those, 116 are connected to ventilators to help them breathe.

Because there were fewer tests conducted over the weekend, the number of daily infections discovered is likely to rise back up to near last week’s daily average of approximately 1,600 new infections.

To date, 839 people in Israel have died from coronavirus.