Israel sees 5 new coronavirus deaths as serious cases spiral

National number of overall cases nears 100,000, with 410 patients now in serious condition in hospital, including 113 people on ventilators; 24,100 tests for COVID-19 on Monday indicate infection rate of 6.9%

Adir Yanko|
Five more people in Israel have lost their lives to coronavirus since midnight, the Health Ministry said Tuesday morning, bringing the national COVID-19 death toll to 698.
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  • The number of seriously ill cases has also shot up to 410, an increase of 11 overnight, and there are currently 113 people on ventilators.
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    מעבדות לבדיקת קורונה של צה"ל
    מעבדות לבדיקת קורונה של צה"ל
    An IDF coronavirus testing lab in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AFP)
    Testing for the virus in the preceding 24 hours led to another 1,660 new diagnoses, 248 of them since midnight, the Health Ministry said.
    A total of 24,100 tests were conducted, indicating a 6.9% infection rate. In late July, the national infection rate reached a record 9.8%.
    Israel is now approaching a total of 100,000 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic, with 23,399 people in the country currently battling COVID-19 and 71,167 having recovered.
    Meanwhile, Health Ministry data obtained by Ynet shows that the government had been basing its decisions on how to mitigate the spread of the virus on only 20% of COVID-19 cases in Israel.
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    מחלקת קורונה בית חולים שיבא תל השומר
    מחלקת קורונה בית חולים שיבא תל השומר
    A coronavirus ward at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AFP)
    The ministry data was presented in response to a freedom of information request by the Tamnun non-profit organization.
    The data shows that even by early August, some five months after the pandemic reached Israel, the ministry was making decisions based on only limited information due to understaffing at the unit tasked with tracing the spread of the disease in order to break the chain of contagion.
    The unit required each of its investigator to trace the movements of up to 1,000 confirmed carriers of the disease at the same time.
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    תיעוד מצלמה נסתרת בפעוטון ברמלה
    תיעוד מצלמה נסתרת בפעוטון ברמלה
    A Health Ministry investigator conducting epidemiological tracing of COVID-19 contagion
    A new tracing system operated by the IDF Home Front Command is expected to be operational in the coming days.
    Israel, which was initially successful in mitigating the spread of the disease in the first wave, has struggled to contain the virus since reopening schools and the economy in May.

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