The spike in new cases marked the first jump of more than 4,000 in a day since May, although the number of new patients hospitalised at 149 was down on 162 for Wednesday, the DGS public health directorate said.
Currently, 4,748 people are hospitalised with the virus across the country, which is down on Wednesday (4,806) and Tuesday (4,823).
France has logged 18,638 positive virus cases over the past week while the percentage of positive tests has been rising, to 3.3 percent Thursday from 3.1 on Wednesday with the DSG revealing 33 new clusters.
France has in recent weeks massively stepped up its testing programme, but public health officials say that extra testing alone cannot account for the rise in cases.
The country has logged 30,480 deaths during the pandemic to date — 12 since Tuesday and metropolitan France continues to see a “worrying” upward transmission trend, the DGS said with new confirmed cases up 43 percent in a week on last week while the number of hospitalised patients on a ventilator is also on the rise.
Six départments, including Paris and the Marseille area, show more than 50 cases per 100,000 residents, above the alert level with another 24 just below.
Despite the rise, president Emmanuel Macron says that France 'cannot be put on hold' as the collateral damage from another nationwide lockdown would be too great.
Instead local authorities are preparing their own plan for extra restrictions on a local basis if necessary.