The balance sheet of the epidemic of flu will be “probably heavy” this year, warned on Wednesday that the minister of Health, Marisol Touraine, calling for the postponement of non-urgent to reduce congestion in the hospital services.
“Every year, there are victims of the flu,” but this year, the epidemic is “particularly intense”, and the number of sick people is “particularly important”, stressed the minister, at a point on this epidemic, which is expected to reach its peak next week.
The number of people who have consulted their doctor for flu-like symptoms continued to increase last week, reaching a total of 395 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 326 the previous week, according to the weekly bulletin of public Health of France, published on Wednesday.
The number of passages to the urgencies related to this viral disease has started to decrease (4.788 against 5.745), as were hospitalizations (787 against 1.035).
But, as many patients were hospitalized for flu in recent weeks (in the vast majority of the more than 80 years), with mean hospital stay of 10 to 15 days, “the challenge is to ensure that there are inpatient beds available for new patients, explained the minister.
“Any person who need to be healed”, she assured, when questions of the government, to the national Assembly.
To cope with this situation, 142 hospitals on the 850 of the country are declared as “health facility supply”, a device that allows you to add inpatient beds, to remind the nursing staff to leave or unschedule care and non-urgent.
Some institutions have already used this last possibility, but Marisol Touraine has encouraged Wednesday to do more “if necessary”.
three days ago, these hospitals “in tension”, were only 86, said the ministry, adding that they were spread all over the territory.
Three hospitals – Troyes (Aube), Firminy (Loire), and Lens (Pas-de-Calais) – have even raised the “white plan”, an additional notch reserved for health emergencies that exceed the response capabilities of a hospital.
- “We closed too many beds” -
The minister has also invited the physicians to treat the most possible patients “in their office or at home, to avoid further hospitalizations.
The association AD-PA, which consists of the directors of in-home services and retirement homes (Ephad), asked Wednesday, “reinforcements in the outstanding facilities (elderly), and in-home services”, fearing that “older people who should be hospitalized” can not be.
“We closed too many beds in the past 20 years, including beds conventional that could accommodate patients of emergency” in case of need, has criticized Patrick Pelloux, emergency doctor in Paris and a trade unionist, on BFMTV, calling for a “policy of re-opening of hospital beds”.
“The flu is every year, and every year we know this state of” gridlock, “and yet nothing changes”, has also lamented Philippe Juvin, head of emergencies of the Hospital Georges-Pompidou and member of the european parliament (LR), on RTL.
Begun in early December, the flu epidemic is expected to reach its peak “next week”, before being rolled back, according to the public Health agency of France.
In four weeks, 784.000 people have consulted a doctor for the flu, according to the monitoring network Sentinel-Inserm.
last winter, the flu virus had not resulted in excess mortality, but two years ago, we had found an excess mortality of 18,000 people, in part due to the influenza.
If the virus this year is of the same type as that of two years ago, the vaccine is best suited, which allows to hope to have an impact lesser, explained, however, Daniel Levy-Bruhl, head of unit, respiratory infections and vaccination in public Health in France.
Since 1 November 52 people died of the flu in the intensive care unit at the hospital, according to public Health France. The agency further notes a “significant increase” all-cause mortality over the last two weeks of 2016, but stressed that it is too early to estimate the share of this excess mortality related to influenza.