Israel’s coronavirus death toll rose to 33 on Thursday afternoon as patients in Ashkelon and Tel Aviv succumbed to COVID-19, sustaining an increase in the fatality rate over the last several days.
The deaths were the sixth and seventh announced on Thursday, bringing the toll over just the last day and a half to 13.
Barzilai Medical Center said one fatality was a 77-year-old man who suffered from several preexisting medical conditions.
The medical center said the man, whose name has not yet been released, had been brought to the hospital on March 22.
“His condition deteriorated and he was transferred a few days ago to the intensive care unit. In the past two days, his situation got much worse, and despite treatments with all possible equipment, the patient passed away,” the hospital said.
A second man, 90, died of the virus at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, the medical center said. It said the victim had preexisting conditions.
All of Thursday’s victims have been men over 72 years old, and five of them had underlying conditions, according to hospitals announcing their deaths.
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, and another ministry official said Monday that authorities were preparing to have to put 5,000 people on ventilators.
The Health Ministry on Thursday morning raised the tally of people confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus to 6,211, an increase of 119 since Wednesday evening and of 620 people over the previous 24 hours.
There were 107 people in serious condition, including 83 patients on ventilators, and another 127 people in moderate condition. There were 289 people who had fully recovered from the virus, and the rest had mild or no symptoms.
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.
Nearly one in seven coronavirus carriers are 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.
These 900 cases — out of the country’s total 6,211 — make it the city with the second highest number of cases after Jerusalem, with its 916 confirmed diagnoses out of a population roughly five times greater than that of Bnei Brak.
Tel Aviv has 324 confirmed cases, followed by Petah Tikva with 127, Rishon Lezion with 121 and Haifa with 81.
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.