Coronavirus update from Jerusalem

Monday, Mar 23 2020

Rhoda Smolow Hadassah National PresidentThis is truly a time of extremes, and I hope each of you and your families are staying healthy and strong. I'm so grateful to our Hadassah family, members, staff and volunteers, who, from a safe distance are doing what you can to support Hadassah's efforts and one another. All of this has helped us realize how distance can actually bring us closer to the people and things we love and care about most. For me, Hadassah's efforts in Israel are high on that list. It's in that spirit that I share with you this update sent to me by our HMO Director General, Zeev Rotstein, about what's happening in real time at Hadassah's hospitals.

With Pride, Passion and Purpose,
Rhoda Smolow
Hadassah National President

Dear Rhoda,

Another week has passed in our war against coronavirus. As of today, 353 staff members are in home isolation: including 78 physicians and 145 nurses. Nine staff members have tested positive for the virus, the majority were infected outside the hospital. We appear to be in a somewhat better position than other hospitals. Unfortunately one of Shaare Zedek’s neonates contracted the virus (perhaps the youngest ever patient).

We are constantly reminding our staff of the importance of social "quarantine" that the Government has imposed as part of its emergency measures: staying at home (except for workers in critical industries, grocery shopping and medical care); not coming in contact with other people; and the importance of preventing infection among hospital staff. As I have written to you before, we are doing everything possible to protect our patients from the coronavirus.

We have now taken this one step further. Today, in cooperation with the Israel Fire and Rescue Services, public areas on the Ein Kerem campus are being disinfected: including the Emergency Room Entrance, the area where the ambulances stand to discharge patients and later park, as well as other key public areas on the campus.

As of today, we have 12 patients in the Corona ward on Floor 5 in the Round Building, most in mild condition and 3 in the Corona ICU on Floor 8. On Thursday, we completed the transfer of Surgery A to the 13th Floor in the Davidson Tower (joined with Vascular Surgery) and Internal Medicine D moved from the 7th Floor of the Round Building to the 6th floor in Davidson (in place of Surgery A). Dermatology moved from the 5th floor in the old building to the 4th floor, together with Ophthalmology. We are now completing construction of our third corona ward in the Round Building in place of Internal Medicine D.

We continue to take the temperature of everyone who enters the campus, visitors and staff alike. We have limited the number of visitors to one per patient and only during regularly scheduled visiting hours. Until the situation settles down, family members are not allowed to sleep in the hospital, including on Shabbat and Shabbat communal meals have been disbanded. Take-away food trays are available.

There is a nation-wide shortage of masks, testing kits, and disposable clothing. In addition to Government efforts to replenish supplies, we are working around the clock through personal contacts and others to ensure that we have sufficient supplies to properly protect our staff and do the necessary testing. We are very proud of the fact that our laboratory is now doing more than 400 tests a day.

We have allowed our employees to purchase Hadasol — our in-house hand sanitizer — for their personal use at home. During the past week, thousands of bottles were sold. Additionally, we are very proud that on a national level we are supplying Hadasol to government agencies and other hospitals across the country.

We are continuing our efforts to assist relevant staff with child-care options.

I would be remiss if I did not end with a note on our financial situation:

We are in touch with relevant Government agencies on a daily basis regarding our financial situation, in light of the external events that are affecting us. As I reported to you last week, to date, we have only received symbolic financial support that has allowed us to pay a very small number of critical vendors. I am the only one allowed to release purchase orders, and those that I do are only a select few that I feel are critical to our patients and the future of the hospitals.

I do hope that the future will bring us good news but we will need a lot of patience.

Wishing all of us good health and strength during these difficult times.


Zeev Rotstein
Director General
Hadassah Medical Organization

P.S. Watch this short video to take a peek behind the scenes of the prepping of Coronavirus Outbreak Ward in the Round Building at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.

Related Stories


Tuesday, Jan 12 2021

Hadassah Speedily Vaccinates Its Staff Against COVID-19

As of January 11, out of the 6,500 individuals who work at the Hadassah Medical Organization, 4,800 had received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and 1,000 had received the second dose.


Tuesday, Jan 5 2021

Mary, From Bethlehem, Experiences Personal Christmas Miracle at Hadassah

Christmas Eve is always a special time for Mary A, an 86-year-old resident of Bethlehem.


Tuesday, Dec 29 2020

Nurses Inject Hope at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem

The sun has just come up. It is 6 am and 18 pairs of eyes are staring at two Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem nurses. One nurse is seated and the other is standing over her, a needle in hand.


Monday, Dec 21 2020

What Are Organoids? Welcome to a Revolution in Basic Medical Science

Classically, researchers in basic medical science have had two tools: in vitro cultures and animal models. The challenges posed by their limitations are many.


Donation Questions

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

(800) 664-5646

Israel Travel

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

More ›

Show More