Serious COVID Cases Hit Three-month High Amid Omicron Wave

Data from the Health Ministry shows that unvaccinated Israelis are overrepresented among the 306 severe COVID cases

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Haaretz
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A medical clown in a coronavirus ward at Herzog Medical Center in Jerusalem on Thursday.
A medical clown in a coronavirus ward at Herzog Medical Center in Jerusalem on Thursday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
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Haaretz

Israel hit a three-month high in severe COVID cases on Friday as the fifth wave of the pandemic continues unabated, with 306 patients in a serious condition.

According to Health Ministry data, 125 of the patients in serious condition are not vaccinated at all and 32 did not receive a booster shot or are otherwise not considered fully vaccinated.

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Among the unvaccinated, the rate of serious illness and hospitalization has been significantly higher. While just 6 percent of Israelis over 60 are unvaccinated, they account for 35 percent of serious cases per capita.

Out of the 306 cases, are currently 86 patients in critical condition, 76 of whom are on ventilators.

Last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel has approved the administration of a fourth vaccine shot for the elderly and at-risk populations. So far, 513,865 Israelis have already received the fourth jab, according to the Health Ministry.

As of Friday, 4,385,857 people have received their third shot, 6,010,232 have gotten two doses of the vaccine, and 6,666,863 were inoculated only with once. 

On Thursday, 40,430 people were diagnosed with COVID, a slight decrease from Wednesday, but Israel's shift to home antigen testing rather than lab tests may not reveal the full scope of infection.

According to the country's new policy, only people in high-risk groups have access to lab tests; people who are not in risk groups but are symptomatic or have had contact with an infected person are recommended to take home or supervised rapid tests.

Over 40,000 Israelis were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday.Credit: Emil Salman

Since Israel opened up the fourth shot for over 60s and high-risk groups, 506,022 people in the country have received the second booster.

One person died of COVID-19 on Thursday, taking the death toll from the pandemic in Israel to 8,293 people.

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