Daily update Wednesday 19.5

Dear Residents,

There are currently 14 verified patients in Efrat. 9 of them from Orot Etzion Girls' School.
Due to the increase in cases at Orot Etzion Girls, a mobile testing van visited the school, testing 167 students and staff today. According to data from the Ministry of Health, more than 450 residents of Efrat got tested through the kupot cholim this week. 

According to our estimates the number of patients is expected to increase as the test results are received, and we are preparing to interpret the data should additional students test positive, it is possible that schools with a high rate of cases will be closed. 

Over the past year we have shared our actions and developments in dealing with the coronavirus. We therefore want to update you now on the significant change that the Ministry of Health has made in the system of epidemiological investigations.

From the moment of the first outbreak in March 2020, the Council set up an investigative team made up of Council employees. This team worked hard and helped stop the chain of infection. Subsequently, the Ministry of Health recognized the importance of this kind of team. They provided professional training and allocated tools and resources to maintain the system.

The investigative team had access to all the necessary information and they accompanied the patient from the moment they tested positive until they recovered. They assisted with appeals, prevented unnecessary isolations and more.

The epidemiological research team in Efrat is made up of Council and Moked staff who did this in addition to their regular day jobs. We want to take this opportunity to thank these individuals who worked around the clock with intense dedication for over a year, day and night, Shabbat and holidays, for the health of the residents of Efrat.

A few weeks ago, the Ministry of Health changed the guidelines for investigation. They reduced our workforce and expanded the length and manner of the investigation which directly affects the duration of every investigation.

Due to the change and the number of patients, all the investigations are now being conducted through the Ministry of Health's main investigation system, and our Council staff no longer have access to the preliminary information. They are not able to assist in the cancellation/shortening of isolation or any other requests related to someone who has had contact with a verified patient.

Inquiries and appeals should be forwarded to the Ministry of Health hotline at *5400. 

This change will also affect the rate at which information is transferred to the general public in Efrat.

We ask everyone to be alert to the symptoms, to get tested if you have any suspicion that you may have the virus, and to follow the rules of isolation.

The Council and our many volunteers will continue to assist patients and those in isolation. With your cooperation we will get through this successfully.

We will keep you updated,
The Public Information Team