Virus deaths climb to 173, with increase in number of patients on ventilators

Woman who died was a resident of a Yavne’el nursing home, making her that facility’s 20th fatality from virus; 150 patients are in serious condition, with 114 on ventilators

Magen David Adom workers move a patient outside the new coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, April 3, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Magen David Adom workers move a patient outside the new coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, April 3, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

One person died overnight from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said Monday morning, as figures showed a rise in serious infections and patients requiring ventilators.

The figures came as Israel began to experiment with rolling back virus restrictions and reopening the economy, amid warnings that the regulations could be snapped back in place if cases begin to rise again.

According to Hebrew reports, the overnight fatality was a 90-year-old woman who was a resident of the Yokra nursing home in Yavne’el, the 20th fatality from that facility.

Nearly 40 percent of all deaths in Israel as a result of the pathogen have been residents of nursing homes.

According to the Health Ministry, the number of virus infections in Israel rose to 13,654, an increase of 289 over the last 24 hours, continuing a general trend which has seen new cases per day fall below 300 for almost a week.

Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing disinfect their ambulance after taking care of a patient with a possible coronavirus infection on April 14, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The ministry said 150 people are in serious condition, with 114 of them on ventilators. On Sunday evening there were 146 people in serious condition with 109 on ventilators.

Another 134 patients are in moderate condition, the Health Ministry said, with the majority displaying mild symptoms, and 3,872 have recovered.

The ministry said Sunday evening that 10,010 virus tests had been conducted over the past 24 hours, similar to the numbers ahead of the weekend. Test numbers have been hovering at around 7,000-10,000 a day over the past week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he hopes to get to 30,000 tests a day, though that goal stills seems far off.

Increased testing is seen as vital to being able to slowly reopen the economy and ease social distancing restrictions on the population. Officials have blamed shortages in test components for their difficulty in raising test numbers.

Magen David Adom medical team members, wearing protective gear, handles a coronavirus test from patients in Jerusalem, on April 17, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel on Sunday announced the easing of regulations in place for weeks aimed at stemming the spread of the virus, removing some restrictions on workplaces and stores which had been shuttered, allowing prayer gatherings of up to 19 people, and increasing the radius people may leave their homes for exercise.

Special education classes were also given the go-ahead to reopen, and public transportation was set to ramp up as well.

Shopping malls, restaurants, toy shops, beauty and hair salons and clothing stores remain closed, and Israelis are required to wear masks in public.

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