Photo/Illutration Officials at the Chiba Fire Prevention Joint Command Center receive emergency calls for ambulances from the northeastern and southern parts of Chiba Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

ICHIKAWA, Chiba Prefecture--A 62-year-old man died in mid-August after an ambulance tried to transfer him to hospitals, but more than 30 of them refused to admit him, according to the municipal fire department.

The man had a high fever and ultimately suffered a brain hemorrhage, although it is not known whether he had contracted COVID-19.

He was pronounced dead when he was finally brought to a hospital about four hours after the emergency call.

“We wanted to quickly transfer him to a hospital, but if a patient has a fever, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a hospital for them,” said an official from the municipal fire department.

According to the department, a family member called for an ambulance after discovering that the man had fallen in the toilet room at his home in Ichikawa city at around 9:15 p.m. on Aug. 18.

When the paramedics arrived at his house, he was not conscious and had developed a fever of 38.9 degrees.

The fire department explained his symptoms again and again to hospitals and requested that they accept him as a patient. But the department was repeatedly told that it was too difficult to admit him because he had a fever from unknown causes.

He was denied admittance by more than 30 hospitals over a period of three hours.

Around 1:05 a.m. on Aug. 19, about four hours after the emergency call, he was transferred to a hospital in the eastern part of the prefecture, about 50 kilometers outside his city, and was pronounced dead.