The number of serious coronavirus patients and hospitalizations in Israel continued to drop on Monday according to the Health Ministry’s daily report which showed that both figures were the lowest since the first half of August.
As a result, several medical centers began to close their corona wards.
Some 564 people were in serious conditions on Monday, out of 1097 hospitalized – about 844 of whom were in hospitals and the rest in geriatric facilities.
At the peak of the fourth wave in the past few weeks, the numbers reached, respectively,were 740 and 1,700.
“I hope we are nearing the end of the fourth wave, although the coronavirus is still here and it is very important that people continue to wear a mask and keep social distance, while those who have not been vaccinated should do so as soon as possible,” said Prof. Masad Barhum, the director of the Galilee Medical Center.
Following a decrease in patients, the center closed off one of its wards after two months and was able to turn it back into an internal medicine department. Another two wards, including a coronavirus intensive care unit, remain open.
The Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov) also both closed down one of their three coronavirus wards.
The data about hospitalizations confirmed the encouraging health trends of previous days, with all parameters showing that the outbreak is receding.
Some 2,653 cases were identified on Sunday, with 2.83% of the almost 100,000 people screened testing positive.
On the previous two Sundays, the cases recorded were respectively 3,870 with 95,000 tests performed and a positivity rate at 4.18%, and 6,547 with 130,000 tests and a 5.17% positivity rate.
Some 1,500 of the new virus carriers identified on Sunday were schoolchildren. However, also among them, the morbidity appears to be declining.
There are currently about 20,000 active cases among students – down from over 40,000 – while another 70,000 are in isolation after being exposed to a verified patient. In the first two weeks of September, the number of students forced to quarantine without testing positive reached 120,000.
In the upcoming weeks, a new outline for testing and isolation in the education system is set to allow students and teachers to get periodically tested and avoid quarantine unless they are infected.
As of Monday, the reproduction rate, or R, had also remained below 0.8 for several days.
The rate measures how many people each virus carrier infects and it mirrors a situation of about ten days earlier. When it stands below 1, the disease is considered to be receding.
In the meantime, the vaccination drive is also appearing to regain speed after it slowed down during the period of the Jewish holidays.
On Sunday almost 89,000 were inoculated, including almost 12,000 people with their first shot, 7,000 with their second, and 70,000 with a booster.
On the same day, the new Green Pass system came into effect. According to the updated rules, only those who have received a third shot or their second shot less than six months earlier are eligible for the document, in addition to those who recovered in the previous half-year or recovered and were inoculated once.