Coronavirus testing in Israel to increase Sunday with new MyHeritage lab

“Together we are fighting coronavirus,” said Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.

A swab to be used for testing novel coronavirus (photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID RYDER)
A swab to be used for testing novel coronavirus
(photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID RYDER)
The new MyHeritage coronavirus lab is expected to begin operations on Sunday, the Health Ministry announced. The new facility will process 2,000 tests a day the first week and up to 10,000 per day in the future.
At the same time, the Health Ministry is working with the Finance Ministry to fund 200 more lab technicians to serve in coronavirus laboratories across the country.
“Together we are fighting coronavirus,” said newly appointed Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. “This past week, we significantly expanded the number of people screened, reaching over 12,000 per day.”
Edelstein said the goal is to screen an average of 30,000 people per day. On Friday, more than 16,000 people were tested.
MyHeritage signed an agreement in the end of April with the Health Ministry and the Defense Ministry to establish and operate the lab. It will be independent and be operated by Israeli employees of MyHeritage.
Israel’s health funds have been struggling to keep up with the recent spike in cases. Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem opened its lab to assist with processing tests in Jerusalem, where there has been the greatest demand.
But on Thursday, a letter from Kupat Holim Meuhedet to the ministry said that “the labs are in a state of crisis, and there is no way that we can maintain this number of tests – and this time it will not be because we are lacking reagents or kits, but because we just don’t have enough manpower,” the letter read.
The Knesset Coronavirus Committee is expected to meet this week to discuss solutions for the laboratories.
“The Health Ministry recognizes the important and critical work of lab workers in Israel,” Edelstein added, and said that he will continue to find new ways to support them and the lab system as a whole.