COVID-19 patient had to wait 35 hours before a hospital took him

A COVID-19 patient had to wait about 35 hours and 47 minutes before a hospital could take him amid a shortage of hospital beds, according to the Tokyo Fire Department.

An official from the fire department said on Aug. 10 the latest case broke the previous record of about 23 hours and 35 minutes made last summer, when Japan was in its fifth wave of infections.

The patient in question was a man in his 70s who tested positive for COVID-19 while hospitalized for foot injuries this summer, according to the department.

The man needed to be transferred via an ambulance to another medical institution that could treat both the disease and injuries, but there was no hospital immediately available to admit him amid a surge in infections, a fire department official said.

The number of COVID-19 patients rushed to a hospital began surging in Tokyo in early July, when the country is believed to have entered its current seventh wave of infections.

The figure was 131 between June 27 and July 3, but it increased roughly sixfold to 780 between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7.

Of these patients, 88 had to wait five hours or longer before being taken to a hospital, while it took at least three hours for 100 cases.

The waiting time was at least an hour but no more than three hours for 494 patients and less than an hour for 98 cases.

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