Israel recorded its lowest daily infection rate since the beginning of September, the Health Ministry reported Sunday morning.
According to the ministry's bi-daily report, health authorities conducted 13,387 coronavirus tests on Saturday, with 887 of returning a positive answer, meaning 6.6% of all tests yielded a positive result.
There are currently 62,133 active cases of coronavirus in Israel, with 1,563 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment across the country's hospitals, 5,389 at specially designated hotels and the rest are battling the virus at home.
The number of Israelis hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19 remained steady throughout the weekend and stands at 825, with 214 of them on ventilators.
Since the onset of the pandemic in Israel, 1,941 Israelis have passed away due to coronavirus-related complications.
Health officials estimate that the daily number of coronavirus infections should stabilize at under 2,000 new confirmed cases a day by next Sunday, October 18, and the virus' reproduction number (or R value) – the number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus to, on average – should drop under 0.8%, which would allow authorities to begin to lift some restrictions.
Experts estimate that the R value currently stands at 0.91.
Israel's top coronavirus health official Prof. Ronni Gamzu urged Israelis to go get tested for coronavirus even if they are displaying mild COVID-19-like symptoms or have a suspicion of contracting the virus.
"If you feel [unwell] or have a slight suspicion, if you were near a patient, a gathering, dinner with a friend and didn't observe the rules – go get tested," Gamzu said. "It is impossible to eradicate a pandemic without testing. Even a person who feels healthy can infect others. Each person, even if they are feeling healthy but there's a suspicion, should get tested."
Prof. Gamzu showed cautious optimism if the downward trend in infections persists, the country will be able to handle the pandemic much better during winter, when morbidity is expected to climb alongside seasonal illnesses.