Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), special correspondent.
Neither the curfew at 6 p.m., introduced here from January 2, nor the ubiquitous communication campaigns of the city of Nice and the departmental council manage to slow the progression of Covid-19 in the Alpes-Maritimes. The many ambulances gathered in the morning of this Wednesday, January 20, in front of the hospital of l’Archet, on the heights of the Riviera capital, testify, from the entry, of the tension which reigns within the CHU of Nice. In a room of this labyrinthine hospital center, Laurent Gleizes holds in his hand a piece of paper on which are noted figures communicated by a doctor from the intensive care unit, with whom he takes stock of the situation on a daily basis. “Compared to the first wave, the number of hospitalizations in intensive care has increased fourfold in the department”, points out the nurse in dermatology and secretary general of the CGT of the CHU.
The incidence rate of the virus in the department was around 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants at the start of the week, against less than 200 nationally. “At the hospital, we are in a much more complicated situation than last spring, continues the trade unionist. Only a third of private or independent staff, who came as reinforcements during the first wave, are now mobilized. The agents are exhausted. To cope with the amount of work, on the entire CHU, 350 additional people would have to be employed. “ The nurse also warns of the bitterness of caregivers, whose commitment to the fight against Covid-19 has, according to him, not been sufficiently recognized. ” We have been told “ it’s the war ” , we have to go “ whatever the cost ” , but we continue to close beds and cut jobs! “ he protests. “We also have to deal with all the delays in treatment that have accumulated”, adds Chantal, psychologist in the oncology department, also a member of the CGT. For her, the question is not whether the hospital system will be able to last in the face of such a situation. “Public health care is no longer valid, she regrets. This crisis has consequences whose effects we do not yet see, particularly at the psychological level. Psychiatric consultations increased from 12% to 15% in downtown practices. “
40 new beds mobilized
And the situation is only getting worse. Between the first and the second week of January, the concentration of Covid-19 in the wastewater of the city of Nice tripled. The Marseille firefighters, who carry out the analyzes, even establish the contamination rate at 8% in the district of the port of Nice alone.
Faced with the emergency, at the end of last week, the regional health agency (ARS) requested the mobilization of 40 new beds dedicated to the coronavirus. “Since Friday, we have been asked to reserve two beds per service, explains Chantal. The referring physicians are faced with a fait accompli and the teams do not have time to prepare, especially in terms of health protection. “
And this tension is felt everywhere in the Riviera capital. “Nice is recruiting nurses and caregivers”, indicate posters plastered on the walls of the city, testifying to the lack of personnel within the communal center of social action. At the same time, many municipal communication media praise the establishment of pre-registrations to be vaccinated. The department announces, for its part, the multiplication of vaccination centers. But in a territory where 30% of the population is part of the class most exposed to potential complications, the 9,000 weekly doses allocated will not be enough to vaccinate all priority people.
Between announcement effects and decisions taken in an emergency, the whole thing gives the impression of total loss of control over the epidemic situation. Knowing that in addition, schools are not spared. Two colleges have closed their doors. A first, last week, in Nice, after the detection of 16 cases of Covid-19. Then another, Monday, January 18, in Beausoleil, with 15 people tested positive. Across the academy, class closures, in schools and in secondary education, are also increasing. The city councilor of Pégomas, in the Grasse region, for its part decided, against the advice of the ARS and the rectorate, to close the primary school and kindergarten, which counted ten positive cases. “In reality, there are at least twice as many cases as those recorded by the administration, declared, this Thursday, January 21, in the regional press, Jean-Pierre Laugier, of the teachers’ union Snes-FSU of the Alpes-Maritimes. There were 27 positive staff the first week of the start of the school year. The number of cases climbed to 79 last week. It’s a real explosion. “
Under these circumstances, there is much to fear that the ballet of ambulances in front of the entrance to the CHU will not be about to stop.