Israel Records Lowest Positivity Rate in Four Months

Magen David Adom medical workers perform COVID-19 tests at a drive-through site to collect samples for coronavirus testing in Yerushalayim. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Health Ministry reported on Tuesday morning that 780 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed on Monday showing a 2.1% positivity rate out of the 36,605 tests conducted. This is the lowest rate in four months.

There are currently 467 Israelis hospitalized in serious condition of which 193 are on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2,452 Israelis have unfortunately succumbed to the virus.

Health officials remain concerned about a possible increase that could be seen next week, ten days after the reopening of kindergartens and other easing of restrictions after a month- long lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Hadassah Medical Center in Yerushalayim announced it would be closing two of its coronavirus wards after a drop in hospitalization. According to Professor Dror Mevorach, 50 patients are being treated for COVID-19 with 37 in serious or critical condition. There are 18 patients on ventilators. At the beginning of October, the hospital was treating 150 cases of the virus.

The Coronavirus Cabinet on Monday approved the reopening of elementary schools as of Sunday, under mitigation restrictions. Grades one and two would be allowed to return to class for three days a week in two separate groups while grades three and four would be studying in pods.

But some local municipalities have announced they would open schools in their area to allow more children to return to school by providing additional space and staff.

The ministers also discussed reopening of some high street shops but have postponed their decisions until they reconvene on Thursday.

The Ministries of Health and Finance are in disagreement over the proper exit strategy from the lockdown, the second since the start of the pandemic, with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein warning the country is “playing with fire” and could be repeating past mistakes that would result in yet another lockdown in the future.