As data indicated a rise in the number of people testing positive for a new variant of the virus, Israel’s Health Ministry instructed hospitals to test new admissions for COVID-19.
Dr. Sigal Libert-Taub, head of the general medicine division of the Health Ministry, wrote to the hospitals, “We ask that over the next three weeks a PCR test for the coronavirus be performed on everyone admitted for hospitalization at your institution in order to more accurately gauge the extent of the current morbidity for the purpose of setting policy.”
The variant known as BA.2.86 has already undergone a number of mutations, according to researchers.
The variant successfully avoids the protection the body can offer from earlier infections.
Israelis who have not had a COVID-19 vaccination in the last six months are more susceptible, according to the ministry.
When clinics administer their yearly winter flu shots, they advise those in high-risk groups, such as the elderly or people with serious underlying medical conditions, to get immunized for both COVID-19 and influenza.
It’s unclear how many COVID-19 cases are still active in Israel. Since many Israelis have been testing themselves at home since the pandemic tapered off, the Health Ministry’s statistics are regarded as biased.
The BA.2.86 variant accounts for more than 16% of cases in Israel as of Sunday night, according to a Monday announcement from Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital.
The hospital claimed that the Health Ministry data was the foundation for its conclusions.
There are 1,081 confirmed cases in the nation, according to data from the ministry. 245 of them are hospitalized, including 45 who are in critical condition.
Of those 45 patients, 11 are on ventilators, and five are in critical condition. In April, Israel closed its final COVID ward and began treating coronavirus patients in standard hospital wards.
Since an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor became Israel’s first victim of the coronavirus on March 20, 2020, the Health Ministry has recorded 12,635 deaths in Israel due to the virus.
The World Health Organization estimates that COVID has claimed the lives of more than 6.9 million people worldwide.