The number of patients hospitalized in serious condition due to the coronavirus dropped below 500 Tuesday for the first time in nearly two months.
Since midnight Tuesday, 1,678 new COVID cases were confirmed, with active infections standing at 36,037, updated Health Ministry figures showed.
There have been 1,296,125 verified infections since the pandemic began and 7,853 deaths.
According to the Health Ministry, 6,153,823 people in Israel have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,662,909 have gotten two shots. Another 3,606,065 — close to 40 percent of the population — have been administered a third dose.
The number of serious cases stood at 489, the lowest its been since August 13.
Israeli researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science are forecasting that serious coronavirus cases could fall to as low as 250 by the end of the month, according to the Haaretz daily.
Prof. Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute and a top adviser to the government’s coronavirus cabinet, told the newspaper that if serious cases continue to decline at the current rate, they are expected to number between 250 and 350 by the end of October.
He credited the fall in the R-number — the number of new cases stemming from each coronavirus infection — to the rollout of booster shots and the inoculation of more people who weren’t previously vaccinated.
Segal also said that he believes the number of people who recovered from COVID could be as high as double the official figure of 1,252,077.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier Tuesday that despite the promising figures, “we cannot become complacent in the face of this evasive virus,” and pledged to continue to press for booster vaccines and Green Pass adherence across the country.