Two-month-old premature baby infected by nurse is Israel’s youngest coronavirus victim as pandemic spreads throughout the nation.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
An urgent test of all patients who came in contact with an infected hospital nurse revealed that a two-month old premature baby is Israel’s youngest coronavirus victim, Ynet reported Sunday.
Shaare Zedek Medical Center issued a statement saying the infected nurse was an outside contractor who worked a limited number of shifts last week. One shift was in the premature baby ward where the newborn, already underweight and suffering complications, was diagnosed as having the virus. The hospital immediately put several staff members and parents of babies into isolation.
The same hospital also reported that an adult patient was admitted to the hospital and placed in an isolation room, but after getting a negative result from a coronavirus test was moved to a general ward for further treatment. However, a re-examination showed the patient was actually positive, requiring immediate relocation to an isolation ward with other coronavirus patients. The staff, family members and two other patients who had been exposed to the infected patient were immediately placed in quarantine.
Israel’s first coronavirus victim, 88-year-old Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even, passed away at the same hospital on Friday.
As of Sunday morning, 945 Israelis have been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, 20 of them in serious condition.
The tens of thousands of people in mandatory two-week isolation after being exposed to an infected person include 3,030 medical workers of whom 814 are doctors and 893 are nurses, the Ministry of Health reported. At least 42 medical staff have already tested positive for the virus including doctors, nurses and lab technicians who are testing for the disease.
Israel has roughly 45,000 nurses and 28,000 doctors with an average of 3.1 physicians per thousand people, slightly below the 3.5 average for countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Shaare Zedek hospital workers wearing surgical masks posted a picture on the hospital’s Twitter account of themselves holding signs in the different languages spoken in Israel, saying: “We stayed at work for you, so please stay at home for us.”
As the number of people infected with the coronavirus steadily rises in Israel, the health ministry is implementing a multistage plan to deal with mass hospitalizations.
One of Israel’s leading epidemiologists warned last week that the country should be ready for an explosive growth in the number coronavirus infections, with the possibility of 10,000 people infected by the end of March.