Serious COVID cases back above 100; 5,466 new cases Friday

Hours of waiting for COVID tests as sites swamped on New Year’s Day

With many regular facilities shut for Shabbat, company conducting tests at Home Front Command locations says Saturday was busiest day during this wave

A drive through COVID testing complex in Ma'ale Adumim, on December 30, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A drive through COVID testing complex in Ma'ale Adumim, on December 30, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Coronavirus testing facilities were swamped on Saturday as multitudes of Israelis came to check for infection. Across the country, Israelis reported long lines and hours-long waits at testing facilities operated by the IDF Home Front Command, as many sites run by health maintenance organizations were closed over the weekend.

Several people told Channel 12 that they’d waited some two hours to be tested at locations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Petah Tikva. Others told the Ynet news site they waited three hours at a testing facility in Modi’in.

“In the end, we decided to pay and be tested privately so as not to stand in the lines,” Ilanit Netanel from Mazkeret Batya told Channel 12.

The company conducting tests at Home Front Command facilities told the network it was its busiest day so far in the current, fifth coronavirus wave, driven largely by the Omicron variant.

“In the last few hours, we have broken our test records for recent months. Over the weekend, the HMOs’ testing complexes were closed, so there is an overload in our complexes,” the Target-Medcare firm said.

Recent days have seen many reports of long waits at facilities amid the swift rise in infections across the country.

According to Health Ministry data, there were nearly 150,000 tests carried out on Friday, and another 85,000 conducted on Saturday by 6 pm. Among those tested on Friday, 5,466 came back positive, with a positivity rate of 3.96 percent, continuing a rising trend seen in recent weeks.

As of Saturday afternoon, there are 29,959 active COVID cases, with 185 of them hospitalized, 101 of them in serious condition and 27 on respirators.

Testing facilities were similarly swamped over Rosh Hashanah and the day after Yom Kippur in September, with many testing locations closed for the holidays.

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