For 1st time in 3 weeks, key measure of virus spread suggests wave still growing

R number surpasses 1; positivity rate among those tested continues to drop, as number of serious cases remains relatively steady

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Health care workers take test samples of Israelis at a COVID testing drive-through complex in Modiin on September 10, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Health care workers take test samples of Israelis at a COVID testing drive-through complex in Modiin on September 10, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The coronavirus reproduction rate crossed 1 for the first time in close to three weeks, according to statistics released on Monday morning by the Health Ministry.

After weeks of steadily dropping, the “R rate” — indicating the number of people who will be infected by a single coronavirus patient — began to tick up again two weeks ago, and has now hit 1.01, indicating that the outbreak is growing.

Meanwhile, the positivity rate of those tested continued to slightly drop, with 7,686 people testing positive on Sunday at a rate of 5.24% of all tests.

As of Monday morning, there were 80,759 active COVID cases, with 1,114 hospitalized, 691 in serious condition and 187 of those on ventilators. The number of serious cases trended slightly down on Monday from 711 on Sunday, but slightly above 688 on Saturday and 681 on Sunday.

More than 41,000 of the current active cases are among school-age children, and another 108,000 students are in mandatory quarantine due to exposure. Close to 56% of those who tested positive on Sunday were students.

On Sunday, 13 people with the coronavirus died in Israel, statistics show, while 25 died on Saturday and 16 on Friday. On average over the past month, 24 people with COVID have died per day.

An Israeli man receives a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination center organized by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Home Front Command, outside Jerusalem City Hall on August 30, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Vaccination rates ticked down on Sunday, with 53,526 people receiving a third vaccine shot, and just 6,232 receiving their first dose of the vaccine, compared to one week ago, when more than 7,100 got the first shot and close to 73,000 received a third dose. Overall, 2,870,182 have received a third dose of the COVID vaccine, which amounts to close to 31% of the population, and just over 6 million have received one dose, 65% of the total population.

Among those in serious condition, close to 67% were not vaccinated at all. Less than 9% of those hospitalized with COVID in serious condition had received a booster dose, and the remainder had received two shots. Just 4% of those who tested positive for COVID on Sunday had received a booster shot, and 63% of new cases were among those who are not vaccinated.

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