IDF Epidemiological Investigation Center can handle 2,000 new cases daily

The IDF’s Home Front Command’s Alon task force and it’s Epidemiological Investigation Center can effectively deal with 2,000 cases a day with some 2,500 investigators but should the need for additional investigators increase, its capabilities will decrease.“We are building a very good system which can carry out a good number of quality investigations but every good machine has a limit,” Col. Relli Margalit, Commander of the Epidemiological Investigation Center told The Jerusalem Post. Earlier this week the IDF announced the establishment of the Home Front Command’s “Ella” unit which would carry out epidemiological investigations with new technology that would help the Health Ministry by streamlining and improving its ability to cut the chain of coronavirus infection.“The Health Ministry is great, but its small and can’t deal with everything. Of course, the military can’t deal with everything either but the Home Front Command is here to help solve problems that others can’t solve,” Margalit said.According to him, his unit has gone from around 700 investigators in mid-August to some 1,450 investigators by the end of September. A total of 2,500 investigators will be working by the end of November.The investigators include 600 troops from the Education corps and other non-combat troops and nurses, as well as 200 women serving in national service and civilians such as ultra-Orthodox, students and volunteers from regional authorities to help with their communities.The investigations can take between several hours to several days with each investigator carrying out at least two per day.  And while they can effectively deal with 2,000 cases per day, “with higher numbers our effectively will go down and if the numbers decease our effectiveness will go up,” Margalit said. Nevertheless, he said, “our system can’t work magic and solve everything…but we are trying to lower the numbers which are too high to deal with.”Israel was widely praised for keeping control over the deadly pandemic when the first few cases were reported in the Jewish state in mid-March. But with 8,100 coronavirus cases diagnosed on Wednesday alone, there are concerns that the country has lost control over the outbreak.Since the beginning of the pandemic, 206,332 cases have been diagnosed with some 57,131 active cases. There are 667 patients in serious condition and 164 on ventilators. The number of deaths from the virus in Israel has risen to 1,335.“The rise in the number of cases is out of control,” Margalit told the Post, adding that he was very concerned about the way citizens are acting.“A lockdown isn’t fully effective if people don’t listen. We will definitely get worse in terms of numbers,” he said adding that “an effective lockdown will bring the numbers down, without a doubt. And once the numbers are back down, and we are back in control, we can contend with them.”Despite the challenge, Margalit is “very optimistic” that Israel can beat the virus.“We just need to bring the numbers down. Every lockdown helps, even if it’s partial. We need to take the tools we have as well as the lockdown to cut the chain of infection. Once we do, we can get control over the numbers.”

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