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Covid France: Hospitals in south west implement emergency plans

Nouvelle-Aquitaine is the latest region to prepare to reschedule non-urgent operations and reorganise space to take extra beds under a so-called plan blanc.

Plans blancs are already in place in hospitals in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, Occitanie and Corsica Pic: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

Hospitals in Nouvelle-Aquitaine are implementing emergency measures as they risk reaching ‘bursting point’ due to rising admissions of patients with Covid-19.

Regional health body l'Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) de Nouvelle-Aquitaine said the emergency plan blanc will be introduced in all health establishments in the region.

The plan authorises hospitals to take measures such as reorganising spaces to add extra beds, transferring non-urgent patients and reorganising non-urgent operations. 

Plans blancs are already in place in hospitals in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, Occitanie and Corsica.

Read more: Hospitals in South of France and Corsica launch emergency plans

Throughout France, daily cases have hovered around 20,000 per day since early August.

Hospital admissions also started to rise at the beginning of the month and are continuing to increase steadily. 

On August 10, there were 9,153 people in hospital with Covid (up 14.8% in seven days), and 1,712 in intensive care (up 28.6% in seven days).

Government Spokesperson Gabriel Attal said: “[Daily cases] are at a peak that is going up slowly. We cannot yet see cases starting to go down, instead we are seeing the impact on hospitals.”

Cases increase in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

On August 9, 595 patients were hospitalised with Covid-19 in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, with 122 in intensive care.

ARS said: “In one week that means 107 extra patients [in total], and 45 in intensive care.”

This is expected to increase in coming weeks.

The incidence rate (the number of cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days) in Nouvelle-Aquitaine rose to 198.9 for the week of August 1-7, ARS figures show.

The worst-affected departments are Gironde (284.8), Pyrénées-Atlantiques (280.8), Landes (220.4) and Charente-Maritime (213.9).

ARS said: “The impact of high incidence rates takes effect on hospitalisations two to three weeks later. These should rise in due course.”

The plan blanc means that some planned hospital procedures for non Covid-19 patients will be delayed.

The ARS said: “The decision to cancel procedures will be made by the medical community and with regular re-evaluations with patients to give them the best possible chance.

“Patients with cancer, awaiting transplants, with chronic illnesses, in paediatric care or requiring urgent care will be taken care of in the best conditions possible.”

‘Colossal’ case-load in Martinique and Guadeloupe

 This comes as emergency workers have been sent from mainland France to Guadeloupe and Martinique to help combat a “colossal” number of Covid cases, said Mr Attal.

 In Guadeloupe the incidence rate has reached 1,700 and in Martinique it is at 1,200.

 Some 274 healthcare workers and 60 firefighters arrived on the islands this morning (August 11), said Sébastien Lecornu, minister for overseas territories, in a tweet.

Since the beginning of August, patients have also been evacuated to mainland France in order to reduce pressure on local hospitals.

 Vaccination rates are significantly lower in Guadeloupe (21.26%) and Martinique (21.75%) than in mainland France (67.05%).

 Related stories

Covid France: Average age of patients in intensive care is now 59

Covid France: Pressure mounts on hospitals; most patients unvaccinated

Occitanie: Alert as Covid hospital admissions increase tenfold in July

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