Fresh cases of COVID-19 across Japan rose for the 11th week in a row, according to the health ministry.

Releasing figures Aug. 4, the ministry said a total of 78,502 cases were reported at 5,000 select medical institutions around the nation for the week between July 24 and 30. The average for each medical institution came to 15.91 cases, up about 1.14 times over the previous week.

Forty-two of the nations 47 prefectures reported an increase in cases over the previous week, but Okinawa was not one of them. The southernmost prefecture had an inordinately large average in June, but the figure is now in line with the averages of other prefectures.

The health ministry said there were 11,146 new COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals, up about 1.19-fold.

A daily average of 80 patients over the seven-day period displayed serious symptoms that required special breathing apparatus, an increase of 10 patients over the previous week.

An expert panel advising the health ministry held a meeting on Aug. 4 and its chairman, Takaji Wakita, who heads the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said the increase in cases would likely continue.

While noting that most people probably preferred to keep their windows closed when using air conditioning during the sweltering summer, he stressed the importance of ventilation to keep down infections.

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