Israeli coronavirus infections jump to 76 as second case of ‘unknown origin’ appears

The wife of the 76th victim charges that both Magen David Adom and the hospital initially refused to test him for the virus.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel jumped by 12 to 76 on Wednesday, with the health authorities confirming that as of now, the latest victim is the second person for whom they cannot determine exactly how he became infected.

The man, named Yehuda, is around 60 years old and works for the Airport Authority in a department that manages the facility’s fire detection systems. Since he had not traveled abroad himself or come into direct contact with any known victim, he didn’t isolate himself when he began feeling ill last week. He did take time off from work.

Since he didn’t fall into the two categories for testing, the health authorities didn’t test him for the virus. Yehuda was diagnosed with pneumonia by his health provider – but as his wife wrote on Facebook Wednesday, no one agreed to their request to have him tested for the pathogen that has so frightened the world.

She led off with an apology to all those who have to be put in isolation after having been in contact with Yehuda.

“I feel a need to apologize for getting you all in trouble with all that’s happened to us,” she wrote. “It’s been 10 days since Yehuda has had fever, and me, five days. We begged [first responders Magen David Adom] to come take a blood sample. We told them that he works for the Airport Authority, that the way Yehuda was feeling was not normal, that he has pneumonia. They did not agree [to come].

“I spoke with them again before I took him to the [Ichilov Hospital] emergency room on Sunday, I told them … ‘Come and take a sample before we infect half a hospital.’ They did not agree. They also scoffed at us in the health fund, and in emergency, despite them seeing how he looked, and the pneumonia, and his metrics.”

The staff put Yehuda in a bed in the hallway of one of the Internal Medicine departments, she said, and told him he could go home in the morning with oral antibiotics. On Monday afternoon, he felt terrible, and his daughter took him back to the ER, where the wife reported that they again refused to test him, although they did hospitalize him.

“This morning they did agree to test him, and it came back positive,” she continued. “Just now, MDA came and also took a sample from me. It’s a terrible feeling, despite knowing that we did everything to report, to ask for a blood test, to be hospitalized.

“The system is working on automatic pilot, without using common sense or thinking out of the box,” she charged.

Sixteen hospital staff members and 30 patients who were in close proximity to Yehuda have now entered isolation as a result.

Of the 76 known Coronavirus victims, only one is in severe condition. Six others are in moderate condition, and the rest are light cases. A few are even being treated at home for the illness.