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Special hospitals for COVID-19 patients spring up across nation

  • October 23, 2020
  • , Nikkei , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

An expert panel advising the Health Ministry on measures against the new coronavirus released its analysis on Oct. 22 that the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country, which had been at around the same level until recently, is now on a slight upward trend. Amid a rising sense of alarm ahead of the epidemic season, special hospitals for the seriously ill and elderly patients are being built one after another.


The Aichi Prefectural Government opened “Aichi Hospital” dedicated to treating new coronavirus patients in Okazaki City on Oct. 15. The hospital was launched after renovating the municipal Aichi hospital. It will hospitalize elderly patients, who tend to develop serious conditions, and patients showing moderate symptoms. The prefectural government aims to reduce the burden on local medical institutions and university hospitals treating patients with severe symptoms by accepting patients from across the prefecture at the new special hospital.


University hospitals and medical institutions in the prefecture will dispatch their doctors to the new hospital. The hospital will have a team of nine doctors and 38 nurses as well as 50 beds, which will be increased up to 100 beds according to the trend in new infections. 


The Osaka Prefectural Government is preparing to open the “Osaka center for serious coronavirus symptoms (provisional name),” a temporary special facility for seriously ill patients. It is currently building a prefabricated facility with 30 beds on the grounds of Osaka General Medical Center (Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka City). The construction of the facility is scheduled for completion at the end of November.


The new hospital will have a special computed tomography (CT) scanning system and all beds will be equipped with an artificial respirator. The hospital needs some 25 doctors and 130 nurses to be sent from medical institutions in the prefecture.


In Tokyo, Tokai University Tokyo Hospital (Shibuya Ward) has been accepting patients as a special hospital since late September. Also, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is renovating the building of the Tokyo Metropolitan Fuchu Medical Center for the Disabled (Fuchu City) for use as a special hospital in November. The two Tokyo hospitals will offer a total of about 200 beds.


Emergency COVID-19 patients are also gathered at specific medical institutions. The Saitama Prefectural Government has designated medical institutions that preferentially accept emergency patients showing such symptoms as high fever and coughing since May. It is the first prefecture in Japan to make such a move. As of Oct. 20, the prefectural government designates 44 secondary emergency medical institutions (235 beds), which account for one-fourth of 200 such institutions in the prefecture, as hospitals for emergency COVID-patients.


The central government is also calling on local communities to clarify the division of roles by designating “key medical institutions” for preferential hospitalization of COVID-19 patients and “cooperating medical institutions” for treatment of emergency patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19.


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