France ‘must be extremely cautious’ as epidemic slows
France must remain “extremely cautious” in the fight against Covid-19, even as the number of patients entering intensive care dropped by a net 82 in the past 24 hours, the director general of health has said.
For the first time since the start of the epidemic, the number of people entering intensive care is on the decline overall, with 82 fewer patients on Thursday (April 9) compared to the day before (Wednesday, April 8), for a total of 7,066 at the last count, said Jérôme Salomon in his most recent daily press conference.
Professor Salomon said: “We are gradually slowing the epidemic. [But] even if we can see hope of a plateau, it is a very steep plateau, and we must remain extremely cautious.”
He added: “The epidemic will only recede when there are fewer patients in hospital, and fewer patients in intensive care. We will only know when we have passed the peak when we see a regular and consistent drop in the number of patients in intensive care.”
He called for the country to “intensify its collective solidarity effort”, including confinement measures and barrier actions (such as wearing masks or staying two metres away from others when you are outside).
The continued drop in the number of people being admitted to intensive care comes after several days of consecutive decreases.
On Wednesday April 8, there was a decrease in admissions, with a net figure of 17. This is compared to 59 on Tuesday April 7, 94 on Monday April 6, and 140 on Sunday April 5.
The number of people in intensive care is a key figure for health professionals, as it shows the extent of the pressure on the health system as a whole. Before the epidemic, France had 5,000 intensive care beds.
Health minister Oliver Véran said: “It’s an important indicator because it shows the pressure in our hospitals, on all the human and logistical resources."
In total, 12,210 people have died from Covid-19 related issues since the beginning of March, including 8,044 in hospitals and 4,166 in elderly care homes and medical establishments.
Over the past 24 hours, there were 412 extra deaths in hospitals, and 929 among elderly care homes over the past 48 hours (as the number for this could not be updated on Wednesday due to “a technical problem”).
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