MAP: The parts of rural France where Covid rates are rising the fastest

Rural parts of France are seeing an unprecedented Covid-19 spike, with some départements recording case rate increases over 80 percent in one week.

MAP: The parts of rural France where Covid rates are rising the fastest
Photo: Philippe LOPEZ / AFP / Covid Tracker
French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to extend the partial lockdown to the entire country, announced in a live broadcast on Wednesday, was prompted in part by a rapid rise of Covid-19 rates across the whole of France, not just in big cities like Paris.
Whilst the greater Paris region of Île-de-France and northern France remain the hardest hit areas with the highest pressure on hospitals, case rates are rising the fastest in less populated places (see map below) of rural France.
Largely spared during the first and second waves in 2020, départements such as Gers, Haute-Loire and Dordogne are now seeing a spike in Covid case rates.
In one week, their incidence rates – the number of daily cases per 100,000 inhabitants recorded on average over a seven day-period increased by between 63 and 87 percent, according to Covid Tracker.
In seven days the infection rate in the southern département of Gers shot up by 87percent, in Haute-Loire the increase was 81 percent and in Dordogne the infection rate rose by 63 percent.
In comparison, Paris’ incidence rates increased by 0.95 percent over the same period.
While hard-hit areas like the capital still have much higher incidence rates – Paris has 531 compared to Gers’ 163 – rural areas have low immunity levels because they were less hit last spring and autumn.
The départements where cases are rising the fastest:
The list below shows the name of the département and how much their Covid case numbers increased in the past week. The number in brackets is their overall incidence rate.
For example, in Gers, the first département on the list, the incidence rate is only 163, which is low compared the national average (379) and minimal when looking at the département of Seine-Saint-Denis, to the north and east of Paris, where the rate is 779.
However, Gers’ incidence rate skyrocketed by 87 percent in just one week, compared to a 9 percent increase in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Gers +87.36% (163) 
Haute-Loire +81.53% (285)
Pyrénées-Orientales +72.44% (269)
Hautes-Alpes +68.09% (432)
Dordogne +63.73% (316)
Côte d’Or +61.87% (225)
Vosges +61.83% (301)
Cher +54.59% (303)
Haute-Marne +51.71% (311)
Cantal +51.49% (153)
Doubs +47.65% (409)
Lot-et-Garonne +47.33% (193)
Loiret +44.28% (290)
Sarthe +42.13% (334)
Vendé +41.85% (261)
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence +41.69% (435)
Manche +40.85% (200)
Bouches-du-Rhône +40.76% (480)
Aveyron +40.41% (271)
Tarn +40.31% (275)
This map shows how case numbers changed in different parts of France in one week, from March 24th to 31st.
The darker the red, the higher the increase.
For an interactive version of this map you can visit Covid Tracker.
The map below, also from Covid Tracker shows a slightly different perspective. It reveals the overall incidence rates of départements around France, revealing how the Paris region, the north and the south east and the hardest hit.

Member comments

  1. We have a beautiful home in Normandie just 10 k north of Vire. We usually go every year for 6 mo. 01 May thru 01 Nov, we could not go this last year and think we may not be able to go this year. We are Americans and live in Calif., is there any hope for this year, as we see the Covid rates are rising again in France?

  2. Why are people surprised. All the people left the cities and headed to the countryside and surprise, surprise the numbers of covid case in the countryside went up. Why were they allowed to leave the cities?

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


France declares epidemic as flu cases soar

The French health authority has declared a flu epidemic, while the country also faces a new wave of Covid cases and bronchitis is affecting young children.

France declares epidemic as flu cases soar

Santé publique France made the declaration of an epidemic on Wednesday, adding that three deaths have been recorded due to flu, while 20 patients are in intensive care.

With Covid-19 and bronchitis cases also currently high, health experts have urged people to get vaccinated – especially those over 65. “It is important for people at risk to be vaccinated against flu without delay,” insisted Santé publique France.

READ ALSO Flu vaccine opens to all adults in France: What you need to know

Cases have hit full epidemic levels in Brittany and Normandy, while the virus is in pre-epidemic phase in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Grand Est, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France and Île-de-France, with an increasing number of people heading to hospitals’ emergency departments with influenza-like illness. It is expected to cross over to epidemic levels in the coming days and weeks.

READ ALSO French PM calls on commuters to wear masks as Covid cases rise

It has already hit French overseas territories including Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion.

Flu has hit epidemic levels much earlier than last season, when it did not peak until early Spring.