Update on COVID-related mortality in care homes in Israel, 12th October 2020

Sharona Tsadok-Rosenbluth (Department of Health Systems Management, School of public health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Boaz Hovav (Department of Health Systems Management, Max Stern Yezreel Valley College), Gal Horowitz (Ministry of Health, Public Health Services, Southern District, Israel), Shuli Brammli-Greenberg (Department of Health Administration and Economics, Braun School of public health, Faculty of Medicine, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)    

The first COVID-19 patient in Israel was diagnosed on February 27th and since then the number of confirmed cases has risen to 282,000 (as of October 8th), with 896 in serious condition and 1,824 deaths[1]. Of these deaths, 704 were residents in long-term care facilities (39%)[2]. The first outbreak in an Israeli long-term care facility began in mid-March, only sixteen days after the first patient was diagnosed in Israel. Only a month after the initial outbreak in the LTCF’s, and following massive public criticism and a call for help from the managers of long-term care facilities, the Israeli government appointed, on April 12th, a national-level team, called ‘Fathers and Mothers Shield’, to manage the COVID-19 outbreaks long-term care facilities [3]

Table 1: Mortality rates general population and LTCFs in Israel

Figure 1: COVID-19 Mortality Growth rates till October 8th 2020

By June 2020, the mortality rate due to Covid-19 in LTCF’s reached 51% of all deaths from the virus. To date (October 12th 2020) Israel is experiencing its second lockdown due to the rapid spread of the disease in the last couple of month. However, the data (Table 1 and Graph 1) show that the mortality from the virus of the general population increased in a rapid rate compared to the mortality rate from the virus of LTCF’s residents. The breakeven point was August 25th  – four months after the appointment of the ‘Fathers and Mothers Shield’ team.

[1] Daily report Corona spread – situation in Israel, MoH https://www.gov.il/he/departments/publications/reports/daily-report-20201008

[2] MoH internal report 12.10.2020

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