Visiting a Paris hospital, the Minister of Health said the flu-related situation has improved in recent days.
French hospitals can finally breathe. The Minister of Health confirmed that the situation related to the flu epidemic has stabilized as the number of serious cases requiring hospitalization has decreased in recent days.
Visiting Sainte-Perrine Hospital (Paris), an establishment specializing in geriatrics, Marisol Touraine explained in particular that there are “fewer elderly patients requiring hospitalization and more young patients who do not need be hospitalized ”.
Thus, “the tension has eased even if it remains present,” she said. Indeed, of the 192 hospitals which declared themselves in tension Thursday, January 12, 172 still face significant difficulties and must deprogram non-urgent operations to free beds.
However, this situation could still evolve in the coming days since the peak of the epidemic has not been reached in all regions, underlined Marisol Touraine. According to data from Public health France, the epidemic peak has already been crossed in Ile-de-France or Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and should be so nationally next week.
A dreaded heavy toll
The authorities already fear a heavy human toll. The Minister of Health has noted on several occasions that this epidemic was “particularly intense” and that the number of patients was “important”. According to the Sentinels network in charge of influenza surveillance, more than 780,000 people have consulted a doctor for influenza-like illnesses in the past 4 weeks, and Public Health France adds that 627 severe cases have been reported and 52 people have died from the flu.
The flu kills on average between 4,000 and 6,000 people each year. For this winter, a first assessment should be available next week, said Marisol Touraine, stressing that these data will have to be analyzed “with precision and serenity”.
Still, in the corridors of the ministry, we are already drawing lessons from this epidemic to better anticipate the next. The track most mentioned: compulsory influenza vaccination for caregivers. Marisol Touraine acknowledged that this proposal was “on the table” when less than one in three health workers is vaccinated. Asked about this question by Why actor, the National Council of the Order of Physicians and that of Nurses said they were in favor of such a measure.