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Over 40 percent of the coronavirus-linked deaths in Osaka involve hospital infections, sources in the prefectural government told Jiji Press on Saturday.

A total of 35 COVID-19 patients have died at five medical institutions in Osaka.

The fatality rate for those infected at those institutions, mostly seniors, is higher than the fatality rate for those in Osaka infected by community spread.

“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. Of them, about 1,400 have left hospitals or completed treatment.

According to the prefectural government, group infections involving 284 people, including medical workers, have occurred at six hospitals. The 35 deaths logged at five of them account for 44.9 percent of the virus-linked deaths in the prefecture, which total 78.

The fatality rate for patients at hospitals hit by cluster infections topped 10 percent, apparently because many who contracted the virus were elderly and those with underlying illnesses.

At one hospital in the city of Osaka, a patient in a room for four was found to be spreading the virus since April 12, causing 11 fatal infections that led to the respiratory disease COVID-19.

At least 19 had been infected as of April 22, when a team comprising members of the city’s health center and the central government conducted an on-site probe into the hospital cluster.

“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, a professor at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine who is heading a panel of experts commissioned by the prefectural government, said it is possible that general patients and hospital workers will spread the virus in hospitals, referring to an overseas report that COVID-19 patients can infect others as early as 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.

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