Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Magen David Adom worker wears protective clothing as a preventive measure against the coronavirus arrive to test a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus), in Jerusalem, March 16, 2020.

As the weekend came to a close Sunday evening, Israelis were stunned to learn that 4,247 of their fellow citizens were infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus; 74 of them in critical condition, according to the Health Ministry.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem announced a few hours earlier that Rosa Sherman Arbel, 84, had succumbed to the virus after six days of serious illness.

Rosas Sherman Arbel of Jerusalem, z’l, age 84
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Rosa was a grandmother to Daniel, Ariel, Yuval, Maya and Stav, the hospital said. A resident of Jerusalem since the early 1960s, Rosa once said she could never live anywhere else.

With her passing, the death toll from the virus rose to 15; Rosa was the third person to die from the illness since the morning hours. Another Israeli had died in Jerusalem earlier in the day, and there had been a patient who died in Bnei Brak as well in the morning. Both were in their nineties.

There were many more still fighting for life on Sunday as the hours crept towards midnight.

Coronavirus Testing Pilot to Start
On the good news side of things, the Health Ministry has announced it will operate a new, free service beginning Monday in a pilot program that allows Israeli customers and supermarket employees to obtain coronavirus testing at certain store branches.

The program will operate at two Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing branches and one Victory Supermarket location, according to Ynet.

If the program proves successful, the pilot is to be extended to additional branches of the chains.

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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.