Virus death toll spikes to 31 as five die across Israel overnight

Number of cases rises to 6,211, with 83 on ventilators; all five victims over 70, three had underlying conditions; toll apparently includes third victim from Beersheba nursing home

The Israeli Magen David Adom national emergency service at a coronavirus testing complex in Bnei Brak on April 1, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
The Israeli Magen David Adom national emergency service at a coronavirus testing complex in Bnei Brak on April 1, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Israel’s coronavirus death toll jumped to 31 on Thursday morning after five patients died during the night, and as the number of virus cases swelled above 6,200.

All of the victims were over 72 years old, and three of them had underlying conditions, according to hospitals announcing their deaths.

The toll more than doubles the number of deaths recorded in the country in just four days, with officials predicting that the virus could claim hundreds of more lives.

Haemek Hospital in Afula said that an 77-year-old man with complex underlying health problems has died from COVID-19 complications.

Sheba Medical Center in the Tel Aviv area announced the death of another man, aged 95, who had also succumbed to the disease.

Meanwhile, a 78-year-old man with pre-existing illnesses died at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon after he was hospitalized last week and his condition deteriorated.

Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said a 72 year-old man with pre-existing conditions succumbed there Thursday morning.

In Beersheba, an 87-year-old man died, the city’s Soroka Medical Center said. The man was named by Hebrew-language media as Shalom Michael Jackson, the third victim from the Mishan nursing home in the city, where the virus has broken out.

Jackson, who previously lived in Lehavim, was taken to the hospital on Wednesday night in critical condition, with his death pronounced in the early morning.

Jackson, who only moved to Mishan last month, had been the roommate of Avraham Aroshas, the first coronavirus victim from the same nursing home.

His daughter told Hebrew-language media that she had begged authorities to test him, but after he was tested the Health Ministry said it had lost the test kit. He was tested again Wednesday, and the positive result only arrived after his death.

There were six deaths from the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, all of them individuals with underlying health issues.

The Health Ministry on Thursday morning raised the tally of people infected with the coronavirus to 6,211, an increase of 119 since Wednesday evening and of 620 over the previous 24 hours.

There were 107 people in serious condition, including 83 patients on ventilators. Another 127 people were in moderate condition and the rest had mild or no symptoms.

The ministry said 289 people have thus far fully recovered from the virus.

Health minister Yaakov Litzman at a press conference at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on March 12, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Among the tally of cases is Health Minister Yaakov Litzman,who tested positive along with his wife Chava, according to a statement from his office issued early Thursday morning.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday announced the number of cases for individual cities, showing that Bnei Brak, a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Tel Aviv suburb with nearly 200,000 residents, has 723 confirmed cases, the second highest infection rate of any Israeli city. That number is despite the fact it is only the ninth largest in the country by population.

Jerusalem, which also has a sizable ultra-Orthodox population, has 807 cases, the most of any city in Israel.

Chevra Kadisha workers wearing protective clothes, carry the body of a patient who died from complications of coronavirus at the Shamgar Funeral Home in Jerusalem on April 1, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel has been implementing increasingly stringent measures to thwart the spread of the virus, with citizens generally required to stay home, and is mulling further restrictions on Bnei Brak.

Channel 12 news reported Wednesday that steps being considered for Bnei Brak include a ban on vehicles entering the city, as well as actions to force all those feeling ill to evacuate from the city to receive treatment, to further curb potential infections.

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