A six-month-old baby girl was hospitalized in critical condition on Thursday after developing post-COVID-19 symptoms. The baby was transferred from the Yoseftal Medical Center in Eilat to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on Wednesday. She was connected to an ECMO machine, a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide from a patient’s blood and sends it back oxygen-filled.
While young children rarely develop a serious form of the disease, they often suffer from prolonged consequences.
Last month, a Health Ministry survey showed that about 11% of children had symptoms that remained after recovering from COVID-19.
The survey was conducted among 13,834 parents of children aged 3-18 who had recovered from COVID-19.
According to a list by the US Centers for Disease Control, the symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, joint pain and chest pain, difficulty concentrating (brain fog), depression, headaches, intermittent fever and heart palpitations.
More serious long-term effects, which are currently being explored, can include inflammation of the heart muscle, lung abnormalities, kidney injury, rashes and hair loss, neurological issues such as smell and taste problems, insomnia and psychiatric issues, including depression, anxiety and changes in mood.
“This case is a painful reminder of the damage the coronavirus can cause,” Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital at Sheba Dr. Itai Pessach, as quoted in The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv.
“It is very important that we go out and get vaccinated to protect ourselves, and those who cannot get vaccinated,” he added. “Despite the baby’s difficult situation, we are optimistic and are doing our best to give her the best and most dedicated care.”
While morbidity in the country is decreasing, the number of COVID patients on ECMO machines in Israel reached an all-time record on Thursday – 58 people. Some 90% of them are not vaccinated, 5% are in the process of being vaccinated, and 5% are vaccinated without a booster.
Also most of Israel’s serious patients were unvaccinated. On Thursday, the number stood at 475; two weeks earlier there were 731.Some 2,369 cases were registered on Wednesday, with 2.3% of the 110,000 people screened testing positive.
The country currently has some 33,000 active cases, down from over 80,000 at the peak of the fourth wave.
In light of the encouraging data, in the coming days the Green Pass will cease to be required for several outdoor venues: tourist attractions starting from Friday and restaurants and swimming pools from Monday.
In addition, the Health Ministry decided that until October 17 customers will be able to access businesses that operate within the Green Pass system also by presenting their vaccination or recovery certificate.
After the new Green Pass system came into effect on Sunday, the ministry’s Traffic Light website and app, where people can download their documentation, have been experiencing technical glitches.
According to the new definition of “fully vaccinated,” only people who have been inoculated with a booster or who received their second shot less than six months ago are eligible for the Green Pass, in addition to those who have recovered less than six months earlier or have recovered and received one shot.
Also on Thursday, Israel started a pilot to use an innovative saliva-based PCR test to check whether individuals are infected with the coronavirus, the Coronavirus National Knowledge and Information Center, Defense Ministry and Bar Ilan University announced. The results of this type of test take about 45 minutes.
The standard PCR test technology used in Israel and in the rest of the world entails the use of a nose/mouth swab and takes at least several hours to be processed and offer results.
The saliva test was developed by Bar-Ilan’s Dr. Amos Danieli with the cooperation and financial backing of the Health Ministry. In laboratory conditions, its accuracy proved similar to that of regular swab tests.
The pilot will take place over two weeks at the testing station in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Participants of different ages will undergo both a regular and a saliva test.