MAP: Where in France is Covid-19 spreading the fastest?

MAP: Where in France is Covid-19 spreading the fastest?
France still struggles with spiralling Covid-19 rates, but there are big geographic variations of the level of spread. Photo: AFP/Santé Publique France
For the first time, France's public health agency on Wednesday published a map detailing local levels of Covid-19 spread.

The interactive map, published by Santé Publique France on their website, shows the pace at which the virus is spreading at in all of France's 35,014 towns and cities.

Until now, such information has only been available on département and regional levels.

Photo: Screen grab Santé Publique France

The new map gives information on the incidence rate in each town and city, breaking the data down to a municipal level to show which towns and cities have the highest levels of spread.

The incidence rate corresponds to the number of confirmed new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days.

The French government has warned that they will bump more areas up to the maximum alert level on Thursday.

The maps can give an indication of the areas that could be in danger of moving up an alert level.

Areas coloured dark blue have an incidence rate above 250, which is one of the thresholds the government has set for an area to tip into maximum alert level, which leads to new restrictions and a possible 9pm evening curfew.

In total, 7,588 towns and cities reported an incidence rate above 250 as of October 18th, which is the date when the data shown in the map was collected. 

EXPLAINED How does France's Covid-19 alert system work?.

In the period October 12th-18th, France registered a national incidence rate of 251.5, albeit with large local variations.

A record seems to have been set in Roubaix, one of France's poorest cities located in the north of the country, which reported an incidence rate of 1,135 on Tuesday – more than four times the national average. Sometimes lags in the collection of data leads to a sudden rise in numbers, so spikes like these must always be interpreted with caution.

Generally speaking, however, the situation has been deteriorating in Roubaix lately and the city has recorded 33 Covid-19 fatalities in October.

 

Areas that are coloured white on the map have incidents rates below 10 and are not considered high risk for Covid-19 spread. A total of 9,768 towns and cities were at this low-risk level when the map was published.

A further 2,142 towns and cities had an incidence rate between 10 and 20, which is not seen as alarming either, but a warning sign that the virus is spreading with increased pace, and 4,059 registered incidents rates between 20 and 50.

A total of 7,247 towns and cities coloured mid blue on the map had an incidence rate of between 50 and 150, and another 4,182 reported a rate between 150 and 250.

The highest levels of spread can be found in the areas around Paris, Lille and Lyon, all already on a maximum alert level.

Photo: Screen grab Santé Publique France

In Lyon and the areas around, as shown in the picture below, the incidence rate is higher than 250 in a large area.

Photo: Screen grab Santé Publique France

In Lille too, the incidence rate is above 250 for both the city itself and its surrounding area.

The nine areas currently on maximum alert are: the entire greater Paris Île-de-France region and the metropole areas (the city and its surrounding urban areas) of Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, Montpellier and Toulouse.

The cities believed to be at risk of moving up to a maximum alert level are Clermont-Ferrant, Tours, Perpignan and Orléans, French media reported.

All these have high levels of spread, and they also have reported high levels of spread among elderly in their areas, and a rising pressure on hospitals. 

Areas where Covid-19 patients occupy more than 30 percent of hospitals' intensive care ward capacity will be bumped up to a maximum alert level, if they also report high incidence rates among the general population and among elderly.

Prime Minister Jean Castex is giving a press conference on Thursday evening to detail the areas moving to maximum alert. You can follow it live here.


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