COVID-19’s 6th wave begins, with more seriously ill and more deaths

According to the Health Ministry, 11,438 tested positive for the virus on Sunday, 68,000 during the past seven days.

 ONE OF THE trends during the COVID pandemic has been a tendency of social media to drive obsessive hot-takes around each new crisis. (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
ONE OF THE trends during the COVID pandemic has been a tendency of social media to drive obsessive hot-takes around each new crisis.
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

Medical centers around the country have reported an increase in hospitalized patients, those who are seriously ill and the number who have died.

The internal medicine department at Ziv Medical Center in Safed is the most overburdened, at 123% capacity, followed by Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, at 121%.

"If the criteria for being in another COVID-19 wave is an extreme increase in the number of positive tests, then we are in the midst of a wave."

Dr. Nadav Sorek

On Sunday, 11,438 people tested positive for coronavirus, and 68,000 tested positive over the past seven days, the Health Ministry reported Monday. At last count, 53,828 people had an active infection, most of them with the BA5 subtype of the Omicron variant.

There were 285 in serious condition and 56 in critical condition, the ministry said. Fifty were on a respirator, and one was connected to an ECMO machine that takes over for the heart and lungs.

 Dr. Nadav Sorek (credit: COURTESY SAMSON ASSUTA ASHDOD MEDICAL CENTER) Dr. Nadav Sorek (credit: COURTESY SAMSON ASSUTA ASHDOD MEDICAL CENTER)

Current COVID numbers

The Health Ministry continues to recommend wearing face masks indoors, especially in crowded places, but it has not ordered it except in medical institutions, despite the rise in infectious and serious cases.

Dr. Nadav Sorek, director of the infectious disease lab at Samson Assuta Ashdod Hospital, on Monday said 25% of antigen tests for coronavirus were now positive, compared with 10% last month.

“The significance is twofold and worrying in light of the increase in the number of tests,” he said. “If the criterion for being in another COVID wave is an extreme increase in the number of positive tests, then we are in the midst of a wave. In recent weeks, we have witnessed an increase in positive tests from the total number of tests to detect and identify corona, and if we take into account that the number of tests has increased at the same time, then the reality is even more complex.

“What mainly worries the healthcare system is an increase in infection among medical staffers, along with an increase in the number of critically ill patients as a result of an increase in the general patient rate. However, compared with the waves of the past and in light of the experience we have gained, vaccines and medications, most of our attention and concern is given to patients over the age of 60 who were infected along with suffering from chronic diseases,” Sorek said.

The Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva on Monday said it had 36 coronavirus patients in its reopened ward, including six in serious condition.

A total of 10,940 people in Israel have died from the pandemic in the last two years, including 26 over the past week. More than 825,000 people above age 60 have received the fourth vaccination, and 4.5 million Israelis have received three shots.