PARIS — The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in France dropped this weekend for this first time since September, after two weeks of new nationwide lockdown measures aimed at slowing surging infections and easing hospital strains.
The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care also fell for the first time in six weeks, according to figures released Saturday night, though virus patients still occupy 96% of France’s standard ICU beds.
The number of weekly infections per 100,000 people in France has now been falling for 14 straight days, and some doctors say they’re starting to see signs of relief in over-stretched ICUs.
But it remains too early to say whether the one-day drop in hospital numbers means France has hit the peak in this second surge of the pandemic.
France has reported more virus infections than any European country and has had 44,246 virus-related deaths. The government imposed a nationwide partial lockdown starting Oct. 30 as the second surge hit and could start easing the measures Dec. 1 if the number of virus patients in hospitals shows consistent decline.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.