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Beds for COVID-19 patients in Nagoya virtually full with 182 hospitalized

Emergency service workers are seen wearing protective gear in a drill to transport a COVID-19 patient in a covered stretcher in Nagoya's Nishi Ward on Oct. 15, 2020. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

NAGOYA -- Hospital beds designated for COVID-19 patients in this central Japan city are virtually filled, it was learned after Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura told a news conference on Dec. 7 that 182 residents infected with the coronavirus had been hospitalized as of the previous day.

    The city has only been able to secure about 180 beds for COVID-19 patients due to staff shortages. According to the Nagoya Municipal Government, of the 182 patients, 155 were hospitalized in Aichi Prefecture's capital and the remaining 27 were being treated at hospitals outside the city as coordinated by the Aichi Prefectural Government.

    At the same time, a dozen or so non-Nagoya residents with the coronavirus were hospitalized at the city's municipal hospital. The city had secured 297 beds for COVID-19 patients, but the number of beds that can be actually used currently remains at around 180 due to reasons including shortages in the number of nurses.

    The municipal government had requested medical institutions to make more beds available for COVID-19 patients, but because hospitals usually see more emergency patients with cardiac diseases and other types of illnesses in the winter, Nagoya's chief medical officer Kiyofumi Asai expressed a sense of crisis, saying, "If the number of infected people increases any further, we'll need to take measures with general medical services, such as postponing surgeries."

    Meanwhile, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients hit a record 418 in Aichi Prefecture as of Dec. 6, but the prefectural government said it has been able to manage them as there are some 900 designated coronavirus beds in the prefecture. Gov. Hideaki Omura has stated, "We had a request from the city of Nagoya to arrange hospital beds since November and we were able to quickly coordinate with hospitals outside the city. We would like to continue to respond (to requests)." However, Omura also said, "We had been initially notified from the city that they were able to take care of patients using some 300 beds (that they had prepared). We need the city to put efforts into securing hospital beds."

    (Japanese original by Masakatsu Oka and Ayuko Nomura, Nagoya News Center)

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