June 1 2020
SAPPORO – Elderly care facilities in Japan are struggling to prevent mass infections with the novel coronavirus among residents and other users, with a nursing home in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido seeing around 70 pct of residents getting the virus.
At the care home, Barato Acacia Heights, in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, the cumulative number of residents who have been confirmed with the virus stood at 71 as of Saturday, of whom 15 have died.
According to sources including the facility operator, Sapporo Keiyukai, the first infection among residents was confirmed on April 26. By then, several residents had fevers and other symptoms, prompting the Sapporo public health center to declare two days later that a cluster of infections had occurred at the facility.
But the facility faced delays in finding hospitals that would accept the infected residents, with work to transport them starting on May 12, more than two weeks after the first confirmation.
“If the transport had begun a little earlier, some people would not have had to die,” an official of Sapporo Keiyukai said. It is believed that the condition of some infected residents became serious while they were waiting for hospitalization.