A pregnant woman in Kashiwa, near Tokyo, who had tested positive for the coronavirus lost her baby after she was forced to give birth prematurely at home as she was unable to find a hospital that would admit her, local authorities said Thursday.
Tuesday's incident involving the woman in her 30s, who was 29 weeks pregnant and had moderate symptoms of COVID-19, has further shed light on how hospitals are under strain due to the explosive spread of COVID-19 in the country, as repeated attempts by the authorities for her to be hospitalized were unsuccessful.
Medical institutions that can take on a pregnant woman with COVID-19 are limited due to more complications related to preventing the virus from spreading within the hospital.
According to officials of the Chiba Prefecture city, the woman had complained that her abdomen felt tighter than the previous day when the city's public health center called to check up on her Tuesday morning.
The officials said the center tried to arrange for her to be hospitalized but was unsuccessful. At around 4:20 p.m., the woman contacted the center complaining of what she felt were labor pains.
The center once again attempted to find a hospital that could take her, but none was available, the officials said.
The woman gave birth to a boy around 5:15 p.m., but it took more than 45 minutes for emergency services to transport her and the baby to a hospital, where the newborn was pronounced dead.
Chiba Gov. Toshihito Kumagai said at a press conference Thursday that he takes the situation "very seriously," adding, "we will consider what kind of support we can provide in cooperation with maternity hospitals and others."