Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
An Israeli child receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a Ministry of Health vaccine center at the Malcha Mall in Jerusalem on December 23, 2021.

The number of Israelis seriously ill with COVID-19 topped 200 this weekend, as the country continues to fight the fifth wave of the virus, complicated by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The Health Ministry reported Sunday morning that 17,518 cases of the virus were confirmed on Saturday, out of 151,189 tests conducted.

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The positivity rate rote to 11.71 percent, the highest since October 2020, and the “R” number that indicates the rate of virus transmission, rose to 1.97. The number is based on data from ten days earlier, however, and any value above 1 indicates a rise in the infection rate.

As of 10 am Sunday, there were 204 Israelis listed in serious condition (a jump of 37 cases since Friday), including 68 listed in critical condition and 48 patients being maintained on respirators.

There were 117,860 active cases of the virus as of Sunday morning. Since the start of the pandemic, 8,269 Israelis have lost their lives to the virus.

Israel is currently urging its senior citizens and health workers to take a second booster shot, for a total of four shots of the vaccine – the first country in the world to do so. As of Saturday, 254,000 Israelis had received the fourth shot.

Of the country’s population of nine and a half million, 5,963,196 have had both doses of the two-shot COVID-19 vaccine series, and 4,322,783 have had a third “booster” shot as well.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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