More than 40 percent of patients hospitalized in intensive care units in the Paris region have Covid-19, the French authorities said this week, warning that local hospitals were coming under increasing strain from an influx of new cases.
Over 2,300 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized in Ile-de-France, the region that includes the French capital and that is the country’s most populated. Nearly 450 of them are in intensive care, and some hospitals have started to defer surgeries to make additional room.
Aurélien Rousseau, the head of the health authority for Ile-de-France, warned that Covid-19 patients could take up half of all intensive care units within the next 10 to 15 days if new restrictions put in place over the past week did not make an impact.
The new restrictions in Paris include the closure of all bars for at least two weeks. Gyms, dance halls and enclosed swimming pools are also closed to adults, and university classrooms and lecture halls can operate only at half capacity or below. Restaurants can remain open if they follow a strict health protocol.
Models from the Pasteur Institut, using data from Sept. 25, before any of the new restrictions were put in place, warned that the region’s intensive care units, at their current capacity, would be completely full with Covid-19 patients by November if nothing changed.
Mr. Rousseau stressed the need for residents to further reduce social interactions. “It is demanding, but it’s the condition to limit the number of infections and to protect the health system,” he said on Twitter.
France reported nearly 19,000 new daily cases on Wednesday, a record so far, as President Emmanuel Macron said that “we must go toward more restrictions” in regions where the epidemic was picking up speed, despite improvements in other areas.
“We are not in a normal time, and we won’t be for several months,” Mr. Macron told French television on Wednesday evening.
Mr. Macron did not detail how restrictions might be tightened, but the health minister is expected to announce any new measures at a news conference on Thursday evening.
Nearly 7,400 people are hospitalized because of Covid-19 around France, including 1,400 people in intensive care. That is a far cry from the peak in April, when hospitals around the country had more than 32,000 Covid-19 patients, but a worrying increase since late August, when that number was around 4,500.
Hospitals in other regions are also coming under increasing pressure from a rise in the number of infections, including the area around Marseille, in southern France, where restrictions had already been tightened last month, and in the northern Hauts-de-France region.