Takao Shimanuki, who heads Nihonkai General Hospital in Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, feels it’s only a matter of time before his hospital will max out its ability to accept COVID-19 patients.

“If the number of patients increases at the current pace, beds allocated (for coronavirus patients) will eventually be full,” he said.

Yamagata Prefecture has cared for a total of 60 COVID-19 patients, as of April 18, since the first case was confirmed at the end of March. Located in the northern part of the prefecture, Nihonkai General Hospital is designated to treat patients with infectious diseases.