The number of COVID-19 patients in serious condition dropped to a 10-week low on Tuesday, according to Health Ministry data, continuing a downward trend from record highs in mid-to-late January and early February that saw hospitals overwhelmed with cases.
According to the ministry, there were 704 seriously ill patients on Tuesday, including 265 in serious condition and 226 on ventilators.The decline comes on the heels of Israel's continuing vaccination campaign, with 4.8 million people, 51.7 percent of the population, receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. In total, 3.49 million, 37.5 percent, have received the full two doses.
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The data also showed that 88 percent of Israelis aged 50 and older have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or have recovered from it, according to numbers released by the Health Ministry on Wednesday. About three-quarters of this population were already eligible for a certificate of vaccination or recovery, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Twitter.
Earlier Wednesday, data released by the Health Ministry showed the lowest number of seriously ill patients in 10 weeks. The Health Ministry meanwhile said on Tuesday that three members of a family were the country’s first identified cases of the New York COVID strain. Researchers that have examined the new strain found that it includes the same mutation found in the strain that originated in South Africa, whichmay make the virus more resilient against the vaccine. It has spread mainly within the United States.
In addition to the U.K. COVID strain, which has spread widely, the country has recorded 450 cases of the South African strain, as well as some cases of the Californian and Ugandan strains.
The new strains prompted the military’s COVID information center to recommend on Wednesday that vaccination of the recovered population should proceed swiftly given the possibility of the South African strain causing reinfection.
The Health Ministry said Tuesday that the risk of being reinfected by this strain was similar to someone who hasn’t been exposed to or vaccinated against the virus. The ministry began administering vaccines to recovered patients for the first time on Tuesday.
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A ministry statement on Tuesday said that two cases of another strain whose origin was in Africa had been identified.
Israel has given 52 percent of its population – 4,895,320 people – a dose of the vaccine, with 32 percent having also received their second one.