The number of new Covid-19 cases remains high and rising.
Health authorities recorded 26,916 new cases on January 27th, 22,086 on January 26th, 4,240 on January 25th (this was a Monday which normally sees low cases due to testing centres being closed on Sundays) and 18,436 on January 24th.
In a month, the weekly average has increased from around 18,000 new cases per day to 20,000.
“We are not in an epidemic wave, when the virus spreads exponentially like last spring,” said Véran, “but we are on a rising plateau, which is increasing by 10 percent per week.”
20 176 cas en moyenne chaque jour (par date de prélèvement), soit +9% en une semaine. Le nombre de tests augmente de 2%. pic.twitter.com/puHqQgKsvX
— GRZ – CovidTracker (@GuillaumeRozier) January 27, 2021
While case rates have not yet exploded, the daily average has reached a level that is four times higher than the threshold of 5,000 cases per day Macron outlined in autumn in order to to reopen restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and other closed establishments.
Hospitals too are seeing patient numbers increase slowly yet steadily, as shown in the graphic below.
Graphic: French government
France counted 27,169 patients admitted into hospital for Covid-19 on January 27th, 3,107 of which were in intensive care.
On a national level, hospitals are not yet overwhelmed like they were back in spring and again in October, when patient numbers exceeded 30,000 nationwide.
But some intensive care units were approaching a pressure equal to that in October before the second lockdown, Véran said.
“We’re nearly at a 100 percent occupancy rate (in some regions),” Véran said, adding that some hospitals had already begun a transferring patients.
The national occupancy rate has risen from 50 percent to over 60 percent in less than a month, as shown in the graph below.
Map: French government
Hospitals say that their staff were already overworked and that a third wave of patients similar to those in spring and autumn would be extremely difficult to manage.
While the intensive care occupancy rate is 61 percent nationwide, several areas in the east have rates exceeding 70 or 80.
The map below shows in which areas hospitals are suffering heavy pressure (red), moderate pressure (yellow) and light pressure (green) due to Covid)-19.
Map: French government
While the map above is not as dark blue as it has been in the past, authorities worry that the new variants, including the more contagious one first discovered in the UK, soon will change that.
Véran said France had gone from registering 500 new cases per day of the new variants in early January to over 2,000 per day now.