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COVID-19 in Israel: Number of serious patients rises again, hospital strike goes on

CM 29/08/2021

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The number of serious coronavirus patients in Israel increased again on Sunday, as independent hospitals in the country continued to operate in emergency mode due to lack of funding.
After last week, the number of patients in serious conditions because of COVID-19 fluctuated between 680 and 700, on Sunday morning Israel had some 726 such patients, the highest since March.
While on Saturday the number of tests administered is lower than on weekdays – around 100,000 compared to 150,000 – the rate of people screening positive, over 7%, also marked a six-month record.

Some 7,071 cases were registered on Saturday. There are currently over 80,000 in the country – not far from the peak of the third wave when Israel recorded as many as 88,000 active cases. Just three days before schools are set to open again, 34,000 are schoolchildren and another 90,000 of them are in isolation after been exposed to a verified patient.
At the same time, the reproduction rate, or R – which measures how many people each virus carrier infects on average – has been declining, dropping as low as 1.11. An R over 1 still indicates that the disease is spreading, but at lower pace than in the past weeks.
Experts hope that the outbreak will start declining soon, especially as an effect of the vaccination drive.
In the past week, Israel administered over 100,000 shots per day on weekdays, mostly boosters, but also first and second doses.
So far, some 5.95 Israelis have received at least one shot, 5.46 two and 1.96 three. The country is expected to hit two million individuals jabbed with the booster by the end of the day.
A TEL AVIV crosswalk this week, with a mix of masked and unmasked pedestrians. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)A TEL AVIV crosswalk this week, with a mix of masked and unmasked pedestrians. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Also on Sunday, hundreds of health care workers gathered in front of the Health Ministry in Jerusalem to protest over the lack of funding.
Seven public hospitals, including Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah-University Medical Center, stopped receiving coronavirus patients last Monday and have been operating in emergency mode since Wednesday – only admitting patients in need of life-saving treatment – because of a prolonged financial crisis.
So-called public hospitals are independent organizations that rely mostly on donations, as opposed to facilities directly owned and funded by the state or the health funds.
The public hospitals said they have received only NIS 400 million of NIS 630m. that was promised to them to cover costs between January and June. An additional NIS 55m. per month they were supposed to receive in July and August also has not been forthcoming.
Officials from the Health and Finance ministries said they have been monitoring the crisis closely and are committed to resolving it quickly, but so far have failed to deliver any solution.
The public hospitals, which also include Ma’aynei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, Laniado Medical Center in Netanya and three small hospitals in Nazareth, stopped receiving COVID-19 patients on Monday. They are all located in cities classified as red or orange by the Coronavirus Traffic Light System.
Maayan Hoffman contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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