COVID-19: Israel marks 3 million cases, 9,000 deaths since start of pandemic

Nearly 60,000 infected • R rate continues to decline • death toll shoots up

 Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on January 20, 2022.  (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on January 20, 2022.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

A total of 60,537 new corona cases were recorded in Israel on Wednesday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 3,049,005.

Israel passed two million corona cases on January 19, meaning one-third of all cases have occurred within the last month due to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, which has repeatedly set record-breaking daily infection rates.

There are currently 1,147 people in serious condition, the Health Ministry reported on Thursday. Of that number, 353 are on ventilators.

A total of 5,946 people are hospitalized with corona across Israel, 47% of whom are considered to be in critical condition, 37% in serious condition, 11% considered medium severity, and 5% in mild condition.

The majority of serious or critical cases are being recorded in patients over the age of 60, with the age group making up 84% of all serious and critical patients. Just 1% of serious cases are being recorded in children below the age of four.

 Proffering a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children, at a Meuhedet vaccination center in Tel Aviv (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) Proffering a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children, at a Meuhedet vaccination center in Tel Aviv (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Of the 201,246 COVID-19 tests, both PCR and antigen, taken on Wednesday, 29% returned a positive result. 

The R rate is continuing its slow decline and is currently standing at 0.9, indicating the lessening severity of the Omicron wave. 

The total number of deaths currently stands at 9,013, marking a sharp increase of almost 100 since the previous day.

Hospitals in Israel are continuing to struggle with the high influx of corona patients, and many are at capacity or close to it, having to admit more patients than they are equipped to handle.

In Jerusalem, Shaare Zedek Medical Center is at 108% capacity, and Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer is at 105% capacity. Other hospitals approaching 100% capacity include Samson Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, and Laniado Medical Center in Netanya, all of which are over 90% capacity.

The situation is made all the more difficult by the number of hospital workers currently self-isolating, which as of Wednesday was over 6,100 staff members, including 2,200 nurses and 914 doctors.

Galilee Medical Faculty deputy director Dr. Zvi Sheleg said that the hospital was operating at an all-time high.

“We have 116 patients in serious condition, 55 in mild condition, and 10 in critical condition,” Sheleg told 104.5FM. “We are missing over 200 staff members. There are four coronavirus wards. We do not see a decline [in cases]. Maybe in two weeks, we will start to see a decline.”