France sees rise in number of coronavirus intensive care patients

France has reported a small but perhaps significant rise in the number of coronavirus intensive care patients admitted to hospital. Numbers had been falling steadily for nearly four months.

France sees rise in number of coronavirus intensive care patients
France currently has 384 ICU patients. Photo: AFP

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.

MAP Which areas of France are 'of concern' to local authorities as Covid-19 cases spike?

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.

READ ALSO: Workplaces – not parties – 'the biggest source of coronavirus contagion in France'

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.

Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday urged the French to “remain very vigilant,” reminding them that “the virus has not gone on holiday.”

“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.

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France’s monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

France has detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said Tuesday, June 21st, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.

France's monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, particularly Europe.

Among the latest cases recorded in France, “a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men,” the French national public health agency said in a statement.

So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.

The World Health Organization is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d’Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.