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Over 500 COVID-19 patients waiting at home in capital area due to hospital bed shortage

All News 16:35 December 10, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- The number of coronavirus patients standing by at home due to a hospital bed shortage has topped 500 in the greater Seoul area, government officials said Thursday.

As of Wednesday, a total of 506 residents of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province were waiting at home despite testing positive for COVID-19 because they were not assigned a bed at hospitals or residential treatment centers for mild coronavirus cases, according to a government agency in charge of fighting the pandemic.

Some of them, including those who want to enter residential treatment centers in their neighborhoods, are waiting at home for longer than two days, the agency said, noting authorities are endeavoring to ensure that the length of home standby will not exceed two days.

This undated file photo shows an intensive care unit for coronavirus patients. (Yonhap)

About 100 of the 506 patients staying at home want to be admitted into hospitals, with the remainder waiting for beds at residential treatment centers, it said, adding the situation is worse in Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul. The provincial government has introduced the so-called home care system in which doctors frequently call patients standing by at home to check their conditions.

The number of new daily coronavirus patients rose by 251 in Seoul on Thursday, the fifth highest daily figure on record, while Gyeonggi Province reported 215 new COVID-19 cases in one day.

The number of available hospital beds dedicated to severely ill coronavirus patients has been reduced to a mere three in Seoul, according to the municipal government.

As part of efforts to cope with the worsening hospital bed shortage caused by a recent surge in COVID-19 infections, the Seoul city government plans to install about 150 shipping container medical rooms at municipal hospitals.


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