Photo/Illutration Sagamihara Chuo Hospital in Sagamihara on Feb. 17 (Shingo Takano)

SAGAMIHARA--A hospital here complained that its staff are facing a backlash from the public because it treated the patient who became the nation's first coronavirus-related fatality.

A nurse who tended to the woman also came down with the virus. The patient tested positive for the new coronavirus after her death.

Schools ordered some children of hospital staff to stay home, and day care centers are refusing to take in small children, the hospital said.

“Our staff and their children are being unjustly discriminated against,” said Sagamihara Chuo Hospital in a Feb. 18 statement.

The hospital is one of three medical institutions in Kanagawa Prefecture where the woman in her 80s visited to get treatment or was hospitalized.

With their children staying home or no care facilities available for their small children, many nurses cannot work at the hospital, resulting in a severe staff shortage at the hospital.

The hospital stopped receiving outpatients on Feb. 17 and said it did not expect to resume accepting them any time soon.” 

Anxiety about the hospital's perceived link to the coronavirus also prompted some transport operators to refuse to make deliveries.

Some medical institutions have given the cold shoulder to the hospital over the virus as well. Requests to send doctors to the hospital or to allow patients from Sagamihara Chuo Hospital to be transferred to other institutions have been rebuffed.

In the statement, the hospital called on those concerned to act rationally as it is trying to quickly resume its outpatient services.

Yoshio Ogura, office manager at the hospital, called on people not to overreact.