The occupancy rate for hospital beds set aside for COVID-19 patients had exceeded 50% in three of Japan’s 47 prefectures as of Wednesday, the health ministry said Friday.
The rate was the highest in Hyogo Prefecture, at 68.9%, up 3.9 percentage points from a week before, followed by Hokkaido, at 55.1%, up 3.5 points. Kochi Prefecture, meanwhile, saw its rate surge 44.5 points to 53.5%.
A bed occupancy rate of 50% or higher suggests a situation equivalent to Stage 4, the worst level on the four-tier scale for gauging the degree of the spread of the coronavirus. Stage 4 indicates an explosive spread of infections.
The ministry also said that a total of 24 prefectures saw their COVID-19 bed occupancy rates top 20%, a condition for Stage 3, the second-worst level on the scale and indicating a rapid increase of infections.
The rate stood at 46.3% in Tokyo, 45.3% in Aichi Prefecture, 49.3% in Osaka Prefecture and 46.8% in Okinawa Prefecture. Yamagata, Yamanashi, Hiroshima and Oita prefectures all hit Stage 3 situations.
The bed occupancy rate for patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms also topped 20% in nine prefectures, with Osaka recording a rate of of 57.9% and Tokyo 55.0%.
On Friday, the daily number of new cases nationwide came to 2,800, with six of the nation’s 47 prefectures marking record daily highs.
The country’s cumulative COVID-19 death toll grew by 41 to 2,567. Daily cases hit a record high in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, at 22, 46 and 17, respectively, and in Kanagawa Prefecture, at 285, Hiroshima Prefecture, at 114, and Oita Prefecture, at 26. The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients nationwide rose by 11 from Thursday to 554 as of Friday, the health ministry said.
On Friday, Tokyo confirmed 595 new cases, the second-highest daily total after the record 602 set on Thursday. Those aged 65 or over came to 107, also a record daily high, according to the metropolitan government. The number of seriously ill coronavirus patients in the capital rose by eight to 67.
In Fukuoka Prefecture, 122 people tested positive for the virus, with the daily count topping 100 for the first time since Aug. 19. Saitama and Chiba prefectures, both adjacent to Tokyo, logged their respective second-largest daily figure.
An infected person in his or her 50s who was staying at a lodging facility in Kanagawa died on Friday, the first coronavirus death of an individual in quarantine at an accommodation facility for people with no or mild symptoms, according to the prefectural government.
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