According to the figures provided by the Health Ministry in Israel, there were only a little over 5% positive tests of the COVID-19 on Sunday. This marks the lowest testing positive rate to be seen in the country since mid-August. The figures could indicate a possible warning of the outbreak of the fourth wave, despite the ongoing Jewish holidays when synagogues are filled up with millions of Israelis and they also visit their family and friends. Likewise, the school system was also opened up in the country earlier this month. The Health Ministry disclosed that there was a total of 126,000 tests that were conducted on Sunday and the new cases that were diagnosed were around 6,456.
The total number of patients in serious condition was around 714, which was an increase from Thursday when they had been 650. This included 194 patients who were on ventilators. According to the data provided, almost 70% of the serious cases are people who are unvaccinated. As per a report from the Health Ministry, almost 40% of the cases that were diagnosed on Sunday were from Arab Israelis who account for almost 20% of the country’s population. Their vaccination rates are also significantly lower than the national average.
Students also reported a high infection rate, with more than half of the total cases on Sunday i.e. 3,766 cases were reported amongst school-going children. As of Monday, at least one vaccine dose has been administered to nearly 6 million Israelis, whereas the third booster shot has been given to 3 million people, which is around one-third of the country’s population. On Sunday, hospital chiefs warned that ECMO machines are running short for treatment of some coronavirus patients and if more funds are not immediately allocated, there was a possibility that the country’s healthcare system could fail.
According to media reports, the comments were made by the head of major hospitals in Israel in a meeting with the top officials of the Health Ministry. The purpose of the meeting had been to evaluate the pressure they are facing because of the ongoing fourth wave of the coronavirus. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines are used for patients dealing with severe respiratory illness because they can do the work of the hearts and lungs until they are able to recover. As opposed to ventilators that are developed to assist in breathing, these machines provide respiratory and cardiac assistance by oxygenating the blood of the patient outside the body and are only reserved for those critically ill.
Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister, said currently 37 patients were using ECMO machines in the country, which is the highest number in the latest wave, but lower than the numbers seen earlier this year. Horowitz also added that 31 of these 37 people were unvaccinated and most of them were under the age of 60. He added that the higher number of unvaccinated patients on ECMO machines indicated that the vaccines were effective. However, hospitals had reported a total of 51 patients on ECMO machines.