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Serious COVID cases top 500, total infections since pandemic’s start pass 2 million

Close to 150,000 children are out of school with coronavirus infections, while more than 1,200 doctors and 2,540 nurses are missing work after testing positive

Hospital staff wear safety gear as they work in a coronavirus ward of Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, on January 18, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Hospital staff wear safety gear as they work in a coronavirus ward of Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, on January 18, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The number of Israeli patients seriously ill with COVID-19 has risen to 533, according to Health Ministry daily figures published Wednesday.

Among those in serious condition, 104 were on ventilators. Overall, 1,608 patients with COVID were hospitalized on Wednesday, mostly in light or moderate conditions.

Ministry data showed more than 72,000 people tested positive for COVID on Tuesday, a new daily record, as current active infections climbed to 393,000.

Over 2 million have been infected since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

According to ministry data, some 146,000 school-age children are currently in quarantine due to infection, and a further 142,000 due to exposure.

Meanwhile, reports on Wednesday said health officials were considering scrapping isolation requirements for children who were exposed to a carrier but remained asymptomatic.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton wrote in an opinion piece published by the Walla news site on Wednesday that she was “fighting” the government’s policies on isolation regulations for children.

Only approximately 24 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and just 12% have received two doses.

Meanwhile, close to 8,900 medical staff are absent from work due to infection or exposure, including 1,209 doctors and 2,540 nurses.

At Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, almost one in ten staff members are sick with the coronavirus.

Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, on January 11, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Under new isolation rules which began Wednesday, vaccinated people who are infected but asymptomatic will need two negative antigen tests, on the fourth and fifth day, to be released from quarantine. Unvaccinated asymptomatic people will need the test on the fifth day to be conducted at a recognized testing facility, and cannot rely on a home test.

Those who test positive on the fourth or fifth day, are required to keep isolating for a total of seven days, without having to conduct an additional test.

And those still displaying symptoms are required to keep isolating for a total of 10 days.

Unvaccinated people exposed to a confirmed coronavirus carrier must also isolate for five days and get a test on the fifth day at a recognized testing facility. Those with immunity are exempt from quarantine if they test negative after being in close contact with an infected person.

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