More than 60 percent of COVID-related deaths in Israel over the past week have been of unvaccinated patients, as official Health Ministry data shows that the 17 percent of eligible Israelis who have not received the vaccine have accounted for 85 coronavirus deaths in the past week.
Israel recorded 3,208 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, which marks a slight increase over Saturday's 2,630 cases. However, the number of daily coronavirus tests declined in recent days. While 129,304 tests were conducted on Friday, only 79,303 were administered on Sunday and 68,347 on Saturday.
In addition, Israel reported a drop in the number of patients in serious condition, to 671 from 689 the day before.
The rate at which coronavirus tests came back positive rose from 3.95 percent on Saturday to 4.26 percent on Sunday. However, the R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will infect in turn, has been on a downward trend since September 5 and currently stands at 0.77. Anything less than an R rate of 1 indicates that the pace of infection is on the decline.
Israel's coronavirus cabinet will convene on Sunday after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's return from New York and the end of the fall Jewish holidays in Israel. The coronavirus cabinet's last meeting was more than a month ago.
In other developments, Israel's top health official said that unvaccinated Israelis cannot be barred from entering hospitals in Israel. "I'm aware of the need and importance of taking measures to curb infections in hospitals," Prof. Nachman Ash said, "but it needs to be done according to rules and regulations ... and without infringing upon patients' rights."
More than a million Israelis who qualify to be vaccinated have not yet gotten the coronavirus vaccine. That includes about 110,000 people 60 and over, and about 90,000 between the ages of 50 and 59.
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Among Israelis between the age of 40 and 49, the number of unvaccinated increases to 145,000 and in the 30 to 39 age group, about 15 percent of the population – 180,000 people – remain unvaccinated. There are 230,000 people in their twenties who have not gotten inoculated and 350,000 younger people over the age of 12 who are eligible for the vaccine but have not gotten the shot.
As many as 46 coronavirus patients were on heart-and-lung ECMO machines as of Sunday, the highest number on the apparatus in Israel during the pandemic – and a figure that one doctor says is putting the country near the breaking point.
On Sunday, the Health Ministry announced that patients who have recovered from coronavirus will now need a single dose of the vaccine to receive a Green Pass if six months have elapsed since their diagnosis,
Prof. Nachman Ash, the director general of the Health Ministry, made the decision due to the diminished immunity to the virus over time for those who have recovered from COVID.