Over 40 pct of deaths linked to the novel coronavirus in the western Japan prefecture of Osaka involved hospital infections, prefectural government sources told Jiji Press on Saturday.
A total of 35 COVID-19 patients have died at five medical institutions in Osaka.
The fatality rate of patients who contracted the virus at those institutions, mostly aged people, is higher than that of community-acquired infections in Osaka.
“Many patients of the new coronavirus exhibit no symptoms. It’s important that basic measures against nosocomial infections are taken thoroughly,” an expert said.
In Osaka, some 1,780 people have so far been infected with the virus. Of them, about 1,400 have left hospitals or completed treatment.
According to the prefectural government, group infections have occurred at six Osaka hospitals involving 284 people including medical workers.
The 35 deaths at five of the hospitals account for 44.9 pct of the cumulative virus-linked death toll of 78 in the prefecture.
The fatality rate of patients at hospitals with infection clusters topped 10 pct, apparently due to infections of elderly people and those with underlying illnesses.
At a hospital in the capital city of Osaka, a patient in a room for four has spread the virus since April 12. Eleven people died after being infected with the virus at the hospital.
At least 19 patients were infected as of April 22, when a team comprising members from the city’s health center and the central government conducted an on-site probe into group infections there.
“Coronavirus infections were confirmed successively,” an official at the hospital noted, adding that “a patient suspected of infection had to share a room with others before confirmation due to a high level of bed occupancy.”
Kazunori Tomono, professor at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, who heads an expert panel commissioned by the prefectural government, said it is possible that general patients and hospital workers will spread the virus inside hospitals, referring to an overseas report that
COVID-19 patients can infect others from five days before showing symptoms.
“It’s necessary to ensure that basic countermeasures such as wearing face masks, washing hands and sanitizing (related places) are taken methodically,” Tomono said.