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Shortage of beds for COVID-19 patients becoming real possibility

  • March 28, 2020
  • , Asahi
  • JMH Summary

The Saturday edition of Asahi reported that the coronavirus outbreak is beginning to pose a threat to the Japanese medical system, saying that cluster infections have occurred in many local hospitals and it is becoming a real possibility that there will be a shortage of beds mainly in urban areas. The paper said local governments are desperately trying to secure facilities to accommodate patients. According to the daily, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients outnumbers the number of beds available at designated medical institutions for specified infectious diseases. As of March 26, there were 223 people infected with COVID-19 in Tokyo, but only 140 beds available, so the Tokyo government asked other hospitals to accept such patients. The paper said that under the current GOJ policy, all patients infected with the virus are hospitalized even if they are asymptomatic, so many of those being hospitalized have mild or no symptoms. In addition, since patients need to test negative twice before being discharged, some of them are being hospitalized for ten days or longer. Noting that the MHLW released an estimate on March 6 predicting that Tokyo will have 45,400 cases, 20,500 of which will require hospitalization and 700 of which will be serious, per day during the peak period, the daily wrote that Tokyo is trying to secure 4,000 beds, including 700 ICU beds, with the help of private medical institutions. Nikkei carried a similar story on Sunday. 

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