Today I will explain the Acceleration Plan for the City of Yokohama’s COVID-19 Preventive Measures with the following slides.
In late July, Yokohama saw a rapid increase in new cases, reaching an all-time high in August. As we enter September, the numbers are on a downward trend, but we are still seeing a few hundred new cases per day, and the number of people receiving treatment in the city remains higher than normal.
As of September 16th, the number of new cases (for the past week) is 1,782, the occupancy rate for hospital beds is at 57.5%, the occupancy rate of beds for patients with severe symptoms is 45.5%, and the number of patients recuperating at home is 1,448. The hospital bed occupancy rates continue to remain over five times higher than before the pandemic.
Regarding the progress of vaccinations in the city, 84.3% of people 65 and older, 38.1% of people 64 and younger, or 51.2% of the eligible population are fully vaccinated with two doses. In terms of vaccination rates, Yokohama ranks 21st out of all 33 municipalities in Kanagawa Prefecture, and 10th out of the 20 Designated Cities in Japan.
In light of this situation, I will explain the aspects of the Acceleration Plan that include the acceleration of vaccinations and strengthening the medical care system.
First, as one of our major initiatives, we will aim to provide vaccinations for everyone who wants one by the end of October. We have reevaluated our vaccination target from the initial goal of 71.8% by the end of November to 80% by the end of October, one month earlier.
In order to reach this target, we will first conduct a thorough reevaluation of the vaccination plan for people aged 12 to 64 and take steps to speed up individual vaccinations.
Second, we will open a new vaccination center for young adults aged 16 to 39 in October. The venue will be located one minute on foot from Kannai Station and will be open until 9:00 pm, with extended hours until 11:00 pm on Fridays. We will build a system that can accommodate up to 1,000 people in a single day.
Third, to accommodate a variety of lifestyles, we will offer vaccinations at the Yokohama City University Medical Center on weekends in the late night to early morning hours. These vaccinations are available for people aged 18 and up. Through these types of initiatives, we will make vaccinations available to a wider range of eligible individuals.
Furthermore, as we monitor the situation going forward, we will continue considerations for a 24-hour vaccination system.
As a tool that is familiar to younger people, we have been using LINE for a variety of purposes. Starting yesterday, we are accepting reservations through LINE. Details are posted on the City’s homepage.
Furthermore, we will use advertisements online and on social media, on digital signage both indoors and outdoors in areas such as Yokohama Station, and on public transportation in order to strengthen the digital sharing of information. Through these strategies, I hope that we can encourage people of all ages, and especially young people, to get vaccinated.
Next, I will introduce our plans to strengthen the medical care system.
I believe that one of the most important points is to ensure that people recuperating at home have consistent access to adequate medical care.
To prevent patients recuperating at home from developing severe symptoms, antibody cocktails and steroid treatments, which have been implemented in trials until now, will be implemented in earnest.
First, for antibody cocktail treatments, the City will enter an agreement with facilities that are able to provide beds for the treatment. High-risk patients with mild symptoms will receive antibody cocktails. For steroid treatments, patients recuperating at home will consult with doctors over the phone, and the necessary steroids will be sent to them in the mail.
Next, in order to secure hospital beds and prevent an impending shortage, we will take steps to further strengthen the medical system.
In April, we had secured 554 hospital beds, and that number has since been increased to 685. We will continue our endeavors to secure more hospital beds. Additionally, we are moving forward with discussions to open a designated COVID-19 hospital.
We will also host an Advisory Board to provide a space for people working in the medical field in Yokohama, who have the best understanding of medical care in the region, to gather and share their opinions.
In addition to these initiatives, we will provide open access to previously released and non-disclosed data related to COVID-19 in an easy-to-understand format, in order to share the current state of affairs with the city’s residents. Finally, we will not stop at preventing the spread of the virus, but will also take steps to proactively consider the economic impact and prepare to balance preventive measures and the economy.
On behalf of the City of Yokohama, I will devote my utmost energies to close collaboration with the country, prefecture, and medical institutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bring the situation under control as swiftly as possible.
The initiatives discussed today were composed based on the opinions and proposals I received from various parties, including the LDP and Komeito, at the City Council plenary session.
As part of the Acceleration Plan discussed today, a supplemental budget will be necessary. In order to implement the policies, I hope that I can continue to engage in discussions with the City Council as we move forward.
This concludes today’s explanation. Thank you for your attention.