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Nagasaki Pref. hits single-day high of 62 virus cases on May 4; cluster linked to hospital

The Nagasaki Prefectural Government office is seen in the city of Nagasaki on March 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Sayo Kato)

NAGASAKI -- The Nagasaki Prefectural Government announced that it recorded a single-day high of 62 coronavirus cases and one death on May 4, exceeding the 60 cases it registered on January 9.

    A cluster of 30 infections was confirmed at Tagami Hospital in the city of Nagasaki. The same day, the prefectural government raised its coronavirus alert level from stage 3 to stage 4, and disclosed that it will issue a special alert across the entire prefecture.

    The prefectural government said it will decide on May 7 whether to ask the Japanese government to apply quasi-emergency virus measures to the prefecture, and extend its requests for people to refrain from going out and for eateries and other facilities in the city of Nagasaki to shorten their hours.

    By municipality, 55 of the 62 new people infected with the virus were from the city of Nagasaki, three were from Sasebo, two from Nagayo, and one each from the municipalities of Omura and Iki -- bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the prefecture to date to 2,227. One COVID-19 patient from the city of Nagasaki in their 90s died, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the prefecture to 42.

    According to the Nagasaki Municipal Government, in the case at Tagami Hospital, tests on those who had close contact with one coronavirus patient revealed that 30 others were infected. As of now, 15 health care staff and 16 patients at the hospital have the virus. The hospital stopped accepting outpatients on May 2, and will also halt accepting new inpatients.

    In the city of Nagasaki, 159 people contracted the virus between April 28 and May 4, accounting for about 70% of the total coronavirus cases in the prefecture. Three indicators have already exceeded the level warranting a state of emergency, or stage 5 on the alert level. These include a hospital bed usage rate of 59.3% and a rate of people receiving medical treatment of 55.6 per 100,000 members of the population as of May 4.

    Nagasaki Gov. Hodo Nakamura said at a May 4 news conference, "The risk of infection is increasing due to mutant strains. I want people to avoid going out as much as possible during the remaining holiday period."

    Meanwhile, in a screening test for mutant strains conducted between April 26 and May 2, the prefectural government found that 61 out of 66 patients, or about 92% were suspected of being infected with coronavirus variants.

    (Japanese original by In Tanaka and Kentaro Nagaoka, Nagasaki Bureau)

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