Dear friends, colleagues and associates,
When I sent out real-time updates in 2006 to our friends around the world, long-range missiles were falling all around Emek and our beloved city. We were cut off and highly vulnerable as Israel battled an enemy from across our northern border.
Today, we find ourselves threatened again, but this time we are not alone. This time, we together with all of you are facing a threat that neither bomb shelters nor reinforced structures will protect against. As the pandemic takes root, life as we know it is being altered beyond recognition. Suddenly – we all are the threat to one another.
Throughout Afula, the only places open are pharmacies, grocery stores and gasoline stations. The children are at home with parents who have been ordered to stay away from work and the streets are eerily quiet. Like you, we await our fate and proceed in accordance with governmental and Ministry of Health directives. There is no place to go as cafes and restaurants are closed and all movie theater, fun parks and cultural attractions are shut down. For how long remains to be seen.
Emek Medical Center is recognized as one of the safest / infection-free hospitals in Israel. This is due to a strict protocol of infection prevention, yet even this does allow complacency in the face of COVID-19. At the entrance area to our Emergency Services is a cordoned-off tent set up to receive coronavirus patients brought here by ambulance. Only after careful examination and diagnosis by protected physicians and nurses will the patient be transferred (if necessary) to a specially adapted Internal Medicine ward. This dedicated department is for virus patients only and there are currently 3 confirmed MILD cases of COVID-19 sufferers and another 5 patients are in isolation for observation.
In addition to the few currently selected & protected staff checking and caring for the existing patients, a unique Mobile Simulation Center (the only one of its kind in Israel) has been set up on our campus. This center is currently involved in the intensive training of selected staff members (physicians, nurses and orderlies) to teach them how to function while dressed in protective clothing that is essentially an all-encompassing sterile suit. After this week in Emek, the Mobile Simulation Center will travel to another hospital, and then another and so on.
I hope to remain in contact with you as each of us is experiencing this pandemic in his or her environment. We are truly one extended family.
Your Emek family wishes you protected health and peaceful days,