March 27th: Novel Coronavirus, One Patient with Worsening Symptoms
On March 27th, Fukui Prefecture reported three cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Two cases were in Echizen City, of an independent businessman and a male company employee, as well as one case in Fukui City, of a male company employee; all three men were in their fifties. This is the first time a case has been confirmed outside of Fukui City. The male company employee from Echizen City had severe pneumonia, experiencing major illness. Within three days, the number of infected persons increased by eight within the prefecture, totalling to nine cases.
According to the current investigations, the newly infected persons had no interactions with each other; up to this point, the connections between the infected persons within the prefecture and those they had close contact with have not been determined. There is a possibility for up to six different infection clusters within the prefecture.
During the evening of March 27th, Prefectural Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto requested the dispatch of the “Cluster Countermeasure Squad”, a team associated with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, which investigates the routes and sources of infection. Upon receiving instruction from specialists for additional investigation, there will be a probe into the common factors of the infections.
The male company employee from Echizen City, who experienced worsening of symptoms is currently in an intensive care unit. An underlying conditions is said to be present. On March 22nd, the patient had a fever of 39.0⁰C and was experiencing fatigue; he then received examinations in multiple medical institutions. On March 27th, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test confirmed a positive case. During the two weeks before symptoms appeared, the patient had no history of being outside the prefecture. One person was in close contact with the patient.
The male company employee from Fukui City experienced a fever on March 22nd, and tested positive for the virus on the 27th. The patient had no history of being outside the prefecture during the two weeks before symptoms arose. Two people were in close contact with the patient.
Regarding the independent businessman from Echizen City, he had gone on a business trip by car to Osaka City (in Osaka Prefecture) and Kobe City (Hyogo Prefecture) to attend business meetings on March 16th. On the 22nd, he experienced symptoms including a fever, and tested positive for the virus on the 27th. The patient was working during the 23rd and 24th. The patient is reported to have an underlying condition. Five people were in close contact with the patient.
It was reported that the independent businessman became infected through contact with a poster carrying the virus, in a clothing store he manages in Fukui City. The store is currently closed until April 10th.
In a Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters conference at the Fukui Prefectural Office on March 27th, thorough enforcement of infection prevention measures were validated. Prefectural Governor Sugimoto addressed the prefectural citizens through the news media, concerning travelling during this weekend, to “please consider exercising self-restraint.” While calling for self-restraint, on the same level as was given in the Greater Tokyo Area, the governor stated, “During this time where we can see signs that the spread of this infection may be uncontrollable, this will be something we will ask of directly to each and every citizen of this prefecture.”