The clusters were identified but none has spread to become a new epidemic, and “there are no more signals suggesting that the epidemic will restart”, said health agency Santé Publique France (SPF).
In its latest weekly summary, on Friday May 29, SPF said: “109 clusters (outside of elderly care homes and restricted family environments) have been reported: 104 in mainland France, and five in overseas departments and regions.
“No uncontrolled community spread (occurrence of new cases outside the community and related to the cluster) has been reported.”
Each cluster is now either “under control” (no new cases in the past seven days since the last reported case) or extinct (no new cases in the last 14 days)”, SPF said.
Health authorities reminded people that a rise in cluster cases was “not bad news in itself”, and was actually a sign of better reporting, as long as the positive cases were isolated. Of these 109 positive clusters, SPF said, “64% had more than five cases”.
It said: “They concern mainly people in a precarious and vulnerable situation (19% establishments of social housing, and 6% vulnerable communities), health establishments (22%), and more generally, businesses (20% private and public businesses).”
(Map: Santé Publique France / santepubliquefrance.fr)
The agency added that it estimated there had been “149,071 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in France” between January 21 and May 28. This number was based on new “more exhaustive” estimates based on “data from patients tested in town laboratories and hospital laboratories” (a system known as SI-DEP).
The number of positive results from virological PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests - which tell if the person being tested has the virus at the time of testing - is an important indication to whether the epidemic is restarting again.
From May 18-24, “216,891 patients were tested” for Covid-19, of which 4,119 were positive (1.9%).
SPF said: “Over the past seven weeks, epidemiological indicators of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 are on the decrease or are remaining at low levels across mainland France.”
These indicators (deaths, hospitalisations, intensive care admissions etc) also show that “the proportion of new cases among elderly care home residents has dropped over the past 14 days, compared to the 14 days before that”, SPF said.
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