Marseille, France (AP) – All five intensive care beds dedicated to COVID patients are in use at Lavern Military Training Hospital in Marseille, and its doctors are hanging on for more.
It is a small ward in a medium-sized hospital, but all that is happening here reflects the increasing pressure on medical facilities across France as the infection resurfaces. Suits hospital medical staff to enter the COVID zone, hook patients to monitors and tubes for hydration, nutrition and therapy, and frequent visits to detect their disease.
While France’s daily case count climbed back up as summer holidays brought relaxed virus vigilance, the number of infected patients in hospitals and infected care units remained low and stable for several weeks. till now.
Doctors started sounding the alarm this week in the country’s latest virus hotspot – Marseille. As of Tuesday, 70 ICU beds dedicated to patients with the virus were in possession in France’s second-largest city and the nearby Bouches-du-Rhône region. The number of ICU virus patients in the region has doubled in the last 10 days and now exceeds 100.
Pierre-Yves’ chief physician, Levaran, said, “The beginning of summer was relatively calm, but it has increased in the last few weeks.” He can only be identified by his first name according to military policy. “What is going on here is the same as what is going on in other hospitals in the area.”
Area hospitals are again activating emergency measures when the epidemic first hit, to ensure they are able to handle growing new cases. Since they have overtaken COVID-specific ICU wards, they are putting people in units rather than patients with non-viruses.
Pierre-Yves said, “In March, April and May we were able to absorb the wave of epidemics, leaving the hospital’s other care activities, and what is at stake today is being able to continue treating every other patient.” The Associated Press on Thursday described it as a fight on two fronts.
Overall, French officials say they are better prepared this time than in March, when the infection quickly skyrocketed and the military moved to transport patients and build France’s first-ever field hospital Had interfered. The virus has killed at least 30,700 people in hospitals or nursing homes in France, among the highest death tolls in the world.
At Laveran Hospital, doctors and nurses appeared calm and studied as they approached the now full COVID ward. They tied their surgical masks on plastic headgear for high-security masks and slide them into disposable plastic gowns.
A team of nurses mounted an ICU patient on her abdomen to adjust the pressure on her lungs, adjusting the ducts attached to her back and monitoring her vital signs.
Amidst all this, a nurse took a few minutes to clean the patient’s thick dark hair, then moisturized for several minutes on her body – an example of how medical staff not only keeps patients alive , But also looks after them in worldly ways when existence is in existence, you do not expect to see it.
Among patients with the new virus, Pierre-Yves said, “Some are older, but not all. There are also adults between 50 and 60 years old with risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, all of the factors that we learned during the first wave. Had seen. “
Unlike spring, France is now conducting large-scale trials, which is one of the reasons why the case count is increasing so fast. Officials reported 9,843 new cases on Thursday – the country’s largest one-day jump since the epidemic began.
The number of people in intensive care with the virus is now at its highest level since June, but at 615 people nationwide, it is still a fraction of more than 7,000 ICU virus patients in the spring.
Epidemiologist Laurent Touana, director of the Erasan Research Institute, argues that this suggests the virus is unusable.
“The fact that there are now people who are seriously ill is explained by the epidemic dynamic – in other words it, like all epidemics, has run its natural course,” he told AP. “The entirety of the population is not susceptible to getting sick. Only a part of the population can become seriously ill and even die. “
France’s President Emmanuel Macron promised to unveil new virus restrictions on Friday, but warned “to stop the terror”.
“The virus is spreading widely,” he admitted, but also added that the new measures would aim to let the French “live with the virus” – including keeping children in school.
France reopened all its schools for in-person classes last week and many parents returned to work as the government tries to revive the economy without creating a new health crisis.
While the central government tries to avoid a new nationwide lockdown, officials are instead focusing on local action. Marseille regional authorities on Wednesday ordered the bar and restaurant to be closed early, and banned any unauthorized celebrations of more than 10 people.
Other regions are watching Marseille closely, careful that they too may see a similar situation in the coming weeks.
Lavern’s chief physician says that preparation and coordination are important: “We need to stay one step ahead.”
Angela Carlton contributed to Paris.