Tokyo area COVID-19 outbreak exacerbated by medical staff shortages

Japan Times -- Aug 14
The Tokyo metropolitan area’s health care system is rapidly becoming strained, as a shortage of medical staff is making it increasingly difficult for hospitals and quarantine facilities to take in more people with COVID-19.

Following a monthslong drive to increase hospital beds and quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients, securing enough staff to treat and monitor them seems to have fallen by the wayside.

As a result, the system meant to alleviate pressure on hospitals is beginning to fail, and an increasing number of patients are given little choice but to isolate at home, where they risk infecting the people they live with.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has prepared 6,240 rooms across 16 empty hotels repurposed as temporary facilities for mild or asymptomatic patients who need to isolate but don’t require hospitalization. Officials say half of those rooms are operational but only about 1,800 can be utilized with the staff currently on hand.

As of Thursday, 1,762 rooms were occupied.

The same day, Tokyo saw record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 patients isolating at home, hospitalized patients and those suffering from serious symptoms.

- Japan Times