A former chief rabbi of Israel, Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, was hospitalized on Tuesday at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center after contracting the coronavirus.
He was stable upon arrival, according to the hospital, but the Haredi Kikar Hashabbat news site said his condition is life-threatening.
Bakshi-Doron complained of symptoms of the coronavirus on Monday evening, according to Kikar Hashabbat, which said the rabbi was tested for the virus and found to be a carrier.
The death toll in Israel from the pandemic climbed to 61 on Tuesday evening, with 9,006 infections recorded by the Health Ministry, including 153 in serious condition. Of them, 113 were on ventilators. Another 181 people were in moderate condition, with the remaining patients showing mild symptoms. The updated figures marked a rise of 102 cases since the previous evening.
Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said Tuesday that Israel had secured enough ventilators to bring the country’s count of the machines up to 3,000.
Almost all of those who have died from the disease in Israel have been elderly and suffered from preexisting conditions, according to hospital officials. The youngest person to die of the virus was 37.
A top medical expert said Sunday that a slowing in the rate of new cases in the past few days was encouraging: New cases had been doubling every six days until recently, he said, and now only every 11 days.
Experts are also pointing to the relatively slow rise in the number of patients on ventilators as a source of potential encouragement.
Putting a dent in the optimism, health officials are projecting that Israel will fall short of testing 10,000 people a day for the novel coronavirus in the immediate term because of a shortage of a key reagent.
Still, officials said Sunday that Israel was looking at solutions — including local production of the reagent — that could boost the testing up to 10,000 people a day and beyond.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m., Israel went into a national lockdown ahead of Passover, including a full closure over the first night of the holiday on Wednesday, to prevent further spread of the virus.