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Beds converted for COVID-19 use at Tokyo hospital after 'second wave' of infections

A vinyl sheet dividing areas inside the Japanese Red Cross Musashino Hospital to prevent contact between COVID-19 patients and regular patients is seen in this photo taken in late July and provided by the hospital.

TOKYO -- A hospital in the capital has once again set aside beds normally used by regular inpatients for those infected with the COVID-19 virus in response to instructions by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government following a resurgence of infections.

    Amid the "first wave" of infections, the Japanese Red Cross Musashino Hospital in the suburban Tokyo city of Musashino had converted a total of 30 beds, including 20 beds for regular patients and 10 high care unit beds, into those for use by patients infected with the novel coronavirus. After the state of infections settled down, in May the hospital left five intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients and restored the rest to regular use. However, following a request by the metropolitan government, which aims to secure a total of 2,800 beds, the hospital has once again converted 20 regular patient beds into those designated for COVID-19 patients.

    Hospital director Namiki Izumi let out a sigh and commented, "I didn't think that the 'second wave' of infections would come this quickly."

    Inpatients who are confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus cannot stay in the same room as those who have not yet been confirmed with infection. Hence, in order to secure 20 beds for COVID-19 patients, the hospital must leave some leeway and keep 45 beds vacant. The Japanese Red Cross Musashino Hospital prepared the 20 beds by having regular inpatients move to different beds, or having them discharged early. It also had some patients postpone surgery that was not urgent.

    Director Izumi said, "We are very sorry, but it cannot be helped."

    (Japanese original by Yuki Ogawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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