The total number of coronavirus intensive care patients in French hospitals increased by 13 over the weekend, national health agency Santé Publique France reported on Monday.
This break with the long-standing trend of decreasing intensive care (ICU) rates in the country began on Thursday, July 30th, although on that day the total only increased by one.
Numbers had been falling steadily since April 8th when intensive care numbers reached a peak of over 7,100.
France currently has 384 ICU patients, out of the total 5,198 patients hospitalised for Covid-19, according to the daily update from Santé Publique France.
The picture below shows how the coronavirus tallies stood on August 3rd.
Source: Santé Publique France
France, which has registered over 30,000 deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic since March, recorded thousands of new cases last week prompting some regions to reimpose local restrictions.
The number of new cases continued to rise on Monday, with 556 new positives registered in 24 hours.
Experts say it will take a couple of weeks before these new cases potentially cause hospital and intensive care rates to spike, due to the lag between a person shows their first symptoms and potentially falling very ill.
However many of the new outbreaks have been linked to young people, who are often asymptomatic and not in high-risk groups, which means that the general spike will not necessarily result in a rise in hospital patients.
The total number of clusters in France currently under investigation on Monday rose by four, bringing the total tally to 184.
Nine départements were considered as “of concern” to the national health authorities.
“We need to protect ourselves against this virus, without putting a stop to our economic and social life, in other words avoiding the risk of a new generalised lockdown,” he said.
France imposed the strict nationwide lockdown mid-March notably to ease pressure on hospitals in the hardest hit parts of the country.