After months of decline, Israel's COVID-19 reproduction number once again appears to be edging towards 1, health officials said Wednesday evening.
The Health Ministry said the “R” number - which indicates how many people on average a single COVID patient infects - stands at 0.95 and passing the threshold of 1 would indicate a renewed spread of the pathogen.
The ministry also reported that 260 Israelis have been diagnosed since midnight for coronavirus. A total of 38,000 tests were conducted and the positivity rate now stands at 0.7% – the highest the figure has been in the last four days (a temporary statistic that might change).
According to the Health Ministry, currently Israel has two local authorities categorized as "red," indicating a high COVID infection rate, Abu Talul, and Hura - both Bedouin towns in the south. The number of active COVID patients, most of whom are in mild condition, continues to decrease moderately and now stands at 5,300.
Despite having only two officially "red" communities, other Israeli cities and local authorities have also recorded a sharp increase in the number of active patients, although they are still considered "green". In Giv'at Ze'ev the number of COVID carriers has increased by 159% over the past week, in Ramat Gan by 140%, Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut by 120%, and Karnei Shomron by 100%.
In addition, 178 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized for symptoms of the disease, and 138 of them are in serious condition, in comparison to the beginning of the month when Israel had 213 seriously ill patients.
The Health Ministry's data also shows that some 83% 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 93%.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel, 8,154 people passed away from the virus, of whom three succumbed to the disease on Tuesday. Since the start of November, 44 Israelis have died - four of them vaccinated, 11 with had their last vaccine more than six months ago, 28 unvaccinated, and one of whom no additional information has been given.