COVID R Number Continues to Climb Toward 1

Health-care workers take test samples of Israelis in a drive-through complex to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus, in Modi’in, last week. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Health Ministry reported on Thursday that Israel’s COVID-19 reproduction number continued to climb toward the worrying 1 threshold, in a possible sign of a renewed outbreak.

The ministry said the R number — which indicates how many people on average a single COVID patient infects — stands at 0.97. Passing the threshold of 1 would indicate a renewed spread of the pathogen.

It was also reported that 494 Israelis have been diagnosed on Wednesday with coronavirus. Some 70,000 tests were conducted and the positivity rate stood at 0.71% – the highest figure recorded in the last five days.

According to the Health Ministry, Israel has only currently one local authority categorized as “red,” indicating a high COVID infection rate, Abu Talul — a Bedouin town in the south. The number of active COVID patients, most of whom are in mild condition, now stands at 5,303.

In addition, 135 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized in serious condition, in comparison to the beginning of the month when Israel had 213 seriously ill patients.

Out of those severely ill, 91 are connected to ventilators.

The Health Ministry’s data also shows that some 83.5% of the patients in serious condition are not vaccinated, and among those who are below the age of 60, the rate of the unvaccinated is at 92%.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel, 8,154 people passed away from the virus.