With three more deaths, virus toll climbs to 39, with 7,030 infected

Three men in their 70s succumb to the disease; 170 patients in serious condition, 95 of them are on ventilators

Illustrative: Magen David Adom workers and a Shaare Zedek hospital medical team, wearing protective clothing as a preventive measure against the coronavirus in Jerusalem on April 2, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative: Magen David Adom workers and a Shaare Zedek hospital medical team, wearing protective clothing as a preventive measure against the coronavirus in Jerusalem on April 2, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Three men in their seventies died of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the national death toll from the pandemic to 39, as the number of  COVID-19 cases surged past 7,000.

The Sheba Medical Center announced the death of a 71-year-old man, who had “significant preexisting illnesses,” on Friday morning.

The second fatality of the day was announced hours later by the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera. The hospital said the 75-year-old man who succumbed to the disease had underlying health issues.

The third man, 79, died at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.

None of the victims Friday were immediately identified.

The Health Ministry said Friday morning the number of Israelis infected with the coronavirus rose to 7,030 on Friday morning, a rise of 173 cases from Thursday.

Ninety-five patients were on ventilators and 170 were in serious condition on Friday morning, the Health Ministry said, while 144 were moderately sick. At least 357 Israelis have recovered from the disease.

The highest number of cases was recorded in Jerusalem (1,003), followed by the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak (966) and Tel Aviv-Jaffa (335). Bnei Brak, one-quarter the size of the capital by population, was closed off by police on Friday morning to stem the outbreak.

Thursday saw an additional 10 fatalities.

On Thursday night, a 91-year-old man died at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva. The man had preeexisting health problems, the hospital said, without providing further details.

Shortly before, an 84-year-old man died at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, the hospital said. He had been hospitalized and isolated for a few days in moderate condition, but his condition deteriorated rapidly in the past several days and he was put on a ventilator before dying. The hospital did not say if he had any underlying medical issues.

Earlier Thursday evening, a 98-year-old woman died at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.

Medical personnel have carried out 87,108 tests, including 6,169 on Thursday.

People in their 20s had the most infections, accounting for 23 percent of the total cases.

Among the tally of new cases on Thursday was Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who tested positive along with his wife, Chava, according to a statement from his office early Thursday morning. The diagnosis forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and much of the country’s leadership into quarantine.

Thursday’s deaths were mostly men and were all over the age of 72.

Medical staff working at the new COVID-19 unit at the Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, March 31, 2020. (Nati Shohat/FLASH90)

Among the other fatalities on Thursday were a 90-year-old man with preexisting conditions at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital; a 77-year-old man with underlying conditions who died at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center; an 87-year-old at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center; a 78-year-old man in Asheklon’s Barzilai Medical Center; a 77-year-old man with underlying health issues in HaEmek Medical Center in Afula; and a 95-year-old man at Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv.

A 72-year-old man died in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital overnight.

Michael Jackson, 87, died in Beersheba, becoming the third resident of the city’s Mishan senior living facility to succumb to the pestilence after an outbreak in the home. A 98-year-old woman, a resident of Jerusalem’s Nofim Tower assisted living center was the fourth fatality from the facility.

The death toll has more than doubled from 16 since Monday, and the number of people on ventilators or in serious condition has also nearly doubled in the last week.

Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said this week that he expects there to eventually be “thousands of dead” in Israel, while another ministry official said Monday that authorities were preparing to have to put 5,000 people on ventilators.

The Magen David Adom national emergency service drive through test complex in Ashdod on April 1, 2020 (Flash90)

Nearly one in seven confirmed coronavirus carriers is from the predominantly ultra-Orthodox central city of Bnei Brak, which has emerged as a major hotspot in the outbreak, with some 900 cases, according to Health Ministry statistics published Thursday morning.

The highly crowded Bnei Brak has seen the second-highest number of infections of all Israeli cities in total numbers, and the highest rate by far, per capita.

The Israeli military was preparing to remove some 4,500 people over the age of 80 from Bnei Brak, placing those residents most at risk from the coronavirus in state-run isolation hotels.

The plan will go into effect on Sunday, a spokesman for Defense Minister Naftali Bennett told The Times of Israel Thursday, as ministers were preparing to debate a raft of measures that could place the city under a near-total closure.

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