Hospitals in Japan's hard-hit areas stretched amid COVID-19 surge
Japan Times -- Nov 21
Hospital capacity is being tested in the nation’s hardest-hit areas by a third wave of COVID-19 as a growing number of severely ill patients occupy a dwindling number of available beds.

The number of patients severely ill with the disease in Japan reached 280 on Thursday — the highest since August — in a concerning trend that could overwhelm hospitals, health care facilities and intensive care units, delaying treatment for patients in critical condition.

More than 50% of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients are occupied in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Hokkaido prefectures following an abrupt surge in new cases that began last week. Experts are concerned about the prolonged pressure this will put on front-line workers.

“Prolonged hospitalization is becoming a bigger burden for health care facilities,” said Masataka Inokuchi, vice president of the Tokyo Medical Association, during a meeting Thursday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. “Securing more hospital beds is an urgent necessity.”

As of Wednesday, 1,354 of 2,640 — or about 51% — of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in Tokyo were occupied, a 10 percentage point increase from the week prior.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government recorded 522 cases on Friday, following a record-breaking 534 cases on Thursday and 493 on Wednesday, bringing the capital’s total past 36,700 infections and 476 deaths.

On Thursday, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike raised the city’s virus alert status to its fourth and highest level, indicating that “infections are spreading.” The previous level, which was the second highest, had indicated that “infections appear to be spreading.”

News source: Japan Times
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