• Like several establishments in France, the Rennes University Hospital has been forced to trigger its white plan in recent days.

  • The hospital is facing a surge in hospitalizations linked to Covid, while the incidence rate has tripled in one month in the metropolis.

  • Emergency departments are also saturated, and the shortage of caregivers is felt.

Saturated services, exhausted staff and immense difficulties in recruiting. With the approach of the holidays, the situation is not at all happy at the moment at the CHU Pontchaillou in Rennes, which was forced a few days ago to trigger its white plan. "We are very worried for the coming weeks", assures Professor Louis Soulat, head of emergencies. As everywhere in the territory, the Rennes establishment has had to deal with a meteoric rise in the Covid-19 epidemic for several days. In one month, the incidence rate has tripled in the Rennes metropolitan area, going from 59 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on October 26 to 180 cases today.

This surge in cases is accompanied by an increase in hospitalizations, which have doubled in a few days.

"Forty-five Covid patients are hospitalized today, including eighteen in critical care", specifies Véronique Anatole-Touzet, general manager of the CHU.

We are still far from the peak of the first wave, where the figure of 140 hospitalized patients had been reached.

"We are not in such difficulty, but the hospital being under strain with a shortage of caregivers, it can quickly hurt", warns Professor Pierre Tattevin, head of the infectious diseases department.

Deprogramming "not to be excluded"

With the activation of its white plan, the CHU has therefore increased its resuscitation capacities, and requested other services to take care of Covid patients.

“We will do everything to avoid deprogramming, but this cannot be ruled out” underlines Véronique Anatole-Touzet.

Because the vital forces are starting to fail in the hospital, where two clusters have been identified.

Not to mention the classes that are closing, forcing some caregivers to stay at home to look after their children.

"We need reinforcements but, like everywhere, we do not find any", indicates the director of the CHU.

A strike started last week

If there were only the Covid, the situation could be brought under control.

But bronchiolitis and flu have also stuck their noses early this year, further overwhelming already saturated emergencies.

Since the start of the school year, emergencies and pediatrics have seen their activity jump by nearly 20% compared to the same period in 2019. "We sometimes have a hundred patients at the same time in the department", testifies Professor Louis Soulat, calling on the population "not to unnecessarily overload emergencies".

At the end of their rope, the emergency responders also began an indefinite strike last week to demand resources.

This Thursday afternoon, they will lead a new action by symbolically depositing a coffin and flowers in front of the management "for the death of the public hospital".

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