Mélina Facchin and Manon Fossat 1:51 p.m., December 2, 2021

The Strasbourg CHRU announced this Thursday to trigger the white plan in the face of the resumption of the coronavirus epidemic.

On Wednesday, it was the hospitals of Colmar and Mulhouse which set up this device.

Already severely tested by the Covid-19 epidemic during the first wave, these establishments are again under pressure with the fifth wave of the Delta variant.

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The Strasbourg University Hospital announced on Thursday that it would trigger the white plan, a device allowing it to mobilize additional resources in the face of the new epidemic wave of coronavirus.

"The number of hospitalized patients doubled in the space of 15 days and corresponds to the peak reached in May 2021 with 74 patients, including 18 in intensive care", indicates the CHRU in a press release.

On Wednesday, the Haut-Rhin hospitals of Colmar and Mulhouse also activated this device. 

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Winter pathologies in addition to Covid

In barely two weeks, the number of patients infected with the coronavirus has indeed doubled in Strasbourg university hospitals: they are currently more than 80, including around 20 in intensive care. And the situation is starting to be difficult to manage, as explained by Professor Emmanuel Andrès, president of the establishment medical commission. "Every day we have about fifteen Covid patients with relatively severe forms who arrive in the emergency room. And 200-250 more patients for winter diseases, influenza, bronchitis ... They arrive in droves, so all together makes it really difficult, ”he says.

The triggering of this white plan will in particular make it possible to distribute caregivers where they are most needed.

"It is much easier to change nurses' departments. For example, we have closed endocrinology beds to make emergency downstream beds. And the blank plan eventually makes it possible to recall people who would be on leave or at rest, "continues Emmanuel Andrès.

To help these already very tired caregivers, he calls on the population to reapply the barrier gestures, a little forgotten lately.

And especially to go to be vaccinated.

Towards hospital overload?

Invited to Europe Midi on Thursday, Philippe Amouyel, epidemiologist and professor of Public Health at Lille University Hospital, estimated that the arrival of the Omicron variant tended to make people forget that we are already going through a fifth wave linked to the Delta variant.

"The Omicron variant is a rather sporadic case for the moment, we will see how it evolves in France. But what today attacks hospitals is the Delta variant", he recalled. 

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According to him, it is indeed necessary that the "decoupling" between the increase in the number of cases and overloading of intensive care services continues to have its effect. "The only problem is that we may be being overwhelmed by other infections while the Covid like the flu can be blocked by the strict application of barrier measures, as we have done last year, "continued the epidemiologist. "And the white plan launched in several hospitals shows that we are starting to reach the limits of the system. So finally, there will perhaps be less serious forms thanks to the vaccination, but that will not prevent a hospital overload. . "

As for the Omicron variant, Philippe Amouyel estimated that it was still necessary to wait "two or three weeks" to have figures to be able to conclude on its virulence and its transmissibility.

"The information we have from South Africa seems to say that at the moment we do not have too many severe forms. But it is very difficult to confirm that. We are also looking at what the Israelis are producing who have a certain number. of cases and it seems to show that the 3rd dose would protect from the Omicron variant. "

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