Record incidence rate, overflowing hospital services, caregivers called for help: the epidemic resumption is hitting the West Indies head-on, where “an emergency scenario ” was launched. Le Figaro takes stock of the situation in Martinique, Guadeloupe and other overseas territories.
Far from the metropolis, the French overseas territories face “a dramatic situation»Since early July. In the West Indies, in a few weeks, the Covid-19 epidemic, driven by the spread of the Delta variant, has spread among poorly vaccinated inhabitants like wildfire. Hospitals are seeing the accumulation of beds in the corridors without being able to cope with this fourth wave “unprecedented“.
“An emergency scenario remains in front of us today ”, declared Emmanuel Macron at the opening of the Health Defense Council on August 11. To deal with a “explosion of serious forms“, In addition to strict confinement in Martinique, Guadeloupe and Reunion, the President of the Republic called for”unconditional solidarity of the whole Nation“. Several hundred caregivers in the metropolis responded to the call by getting on the first plane to support their ultra-marine colleagues, some of whom were forced to carry out the first sorting of patients in the face of saturated hospitals.
If the West Indies were the first to be affected, French Polynesia and New Caledonia are not spared. Le Figaro make the point.
SEE ALSO – Why the Covid-19 epidemic is on the rise in overseas territories more than in metropolitan France
Martinique, first witness of the fourth wave
In Martinique, it was not until mid-July that doctors saw the first cases of Covid pass through the doors of the hospital. On July 14, 42 beds were occupied, including 12 in intensive care. A month later, they are 359, including 60 in intensive care. At the Fort-de-France University Hospital, stretchers accumulate in the corridors, caregivers, exhausted and frightened by the power of the fourth wave, are forced to carry out the first sorting of patients and sometimes from the age of 60. Faced with the emergency, a “military resuscitation module”(MMR), equivalent to the one installed in Mulhouse in March 2020, is deployed, thus creating 20 additional beds. In total, 80 soldiers, doctors, nurses, orderlies from the Army Health Service and the Army Medical Regiment come to support the hospital team.
- Incidence rate: 1197 new contaminations per 100,000 inhabitants. In one month, it jumped 70%.
- Positivity rate: 18%. In one month, it was multiplied by 2.5.
- Hospital blood pressure: 231%. 359 people are currently hospitalized, including 60 in intensive care. In one month, the corridors of Martinique hospitals received 89% more patients. The same evolution is observed in intensive care.
- Hospital deaths: mortality has reached an unprecedented level. Every morning, the name of each disappeared is read on the radio to pay tribute to him. “We have never seen such a catastrophe […] in this country”, tells FranceInfo Isabelle Auguste, assistant to the editorial direction of Martinique la 1ère.
- Restrictive measures: since August 9 and for three weeks, confinement has been tightened. Only trips around one kilometer and carried out with a certificate are authorized. Beaches and cultural places are closed. Only food stores remain open.
- Vaccination: 23% of the population of Martinique received a first dose against 64% in metropolitan France.
Guadeloupe, the little twin
Not far from its neighbor Martinique, Guadeloupe also saw the arrival of the fourth wave like a tropical storm. A few days after Martinique, the first patients begin to fill its hospitals as the latest wave began to subside without however completely coming down. As of July 14, 108 patients are hospitalized including 13 in intensive care. A month later, their number is multiplied by three, five in intensive care.
- Incidence rate: 2,217 new contaminations per 100,000 inhabitants. In one month, it jumped 98%.
- Hospital blood pressure: 212%. In one month, their number has multiplied by three in conventional hospitalization, five in intensive care.
- Vaccination: 22% of the Guadeloupe population received a first dose against 64% in metropolitan France.
- Restrictive measures: since August 11 and for three weeks, confinement has been tightened. Only trips around five kilometers are authorized without a certificate. Only food, DIY and IT businesses remain open. Unlike cultural places, the beaches are not closed but it is forbidden to remain static there.
Reunion, more spared but under alert
While the students of Reunion have returned to school, the health situation is under close surveillance in Reunion. Less alarming than in Martinique and Guadeloupe, it remains worrying, however. The patients arrived less suddenly but in numbers. At the end of July, the CHU warned about “the very worrying evolution of the contaminations curve in recent days […] leaving fear that the CHU is overwhelmed […] to the detriment of patients with other pathologies ”. To face it, the entire medical team mobilized.
- Incidence rate: 348 new contaminations per 100,000 inhabitants. In one month, it jumped 56%.
- Positivity rate: 8%.
- Hospital blood pressure: 43%. For Reunion, it is the third wave that was the most worrying in terms of health. Between February and March, the number of hospitalized patients multiplied by 8. Since then, the island has remained on a very high plateau of patients with a sudden increase at the end of July, pushed by the Delta variant. Consequently, the fourth wave looks more like what the metropolis is experiencing with a skyrocketing increase in contaminations followed by hospitalizations but lessened in particular by vaccination.
- Vaccination: 47% of the population received a first dose against 64% in metropolitan France.
- Restrictive measures: since July 31, a curfew has been imposed on the island. During the day, trips are reduced to 10 kilometers around his home.
Guyana, from the Brazilian variant to the Delta variant
The first French territory to have seen the Brazilian variant develop on its territory, Guyana experienced a very strong third wave, approaching the levels of July 2020. The Delta variant has now gained the upper hand and lets hover over the French enclave l shadow of an epidemic recovery. “The impact on hospitalizations is to be feared within one or two weeks“, Warns the prefecture of Guyana, its eyes riveted on Cayenne and Kourou, possible outbreaks of the fourth wave.
- Incidence rate: 332 new contaminations per 100,000 inhabitants. It was multiplied by 1.5 in one month.
- Hospital blood pressure: 55%
- Positivity rate: 10.3%
- Vaccination: 25% of the population received a first dose against 64% in metropolitan France.
- Restrictive measures: a curfew remains in force in Kourou, Cayenne and Macouria. It only concerns the rest of the department at weekends.
French Polynesia, on the alert
Within the hundred islands of Polynesia, the health situation is straining and worries the authorities. So the virus seemed a distant memory since last March, the Delta variant came to play the spoiler. In one month, the patients have accumulated at the Tahiti hospital center with 294 people hospitalized, 38 of whom are in intensive care. More than ten daily deaths are recorded for a population of 280,000 inhabitants. Since August 11, a curfew has been in place, supplemented by confinement on weekends. Proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required for inter-island travel.
Catholics were able to benefit from an exemption to celebrate the feast of the Assumption. “We must not rush the country into this economic crash, and this is what hangs in our face, warned the President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch. We cannot plunge the Polynesian people into nameless poverty. ”
New Caledonia, the spared
Rare territory relatively protected from Covid-19, New Caledonia toughened its tone on Monday August 16 towards tourists. A vaccination certificate will now be required for anyone wishing to enter New Caledonia, while 28.34% of the local adult population has received the two doses of vaccines. An insufficient proportion for the authorities who are considering making injections compulsory in order to “achieve collective immunity by the end of the year“, Warned Louis Mapou, president of the government of New Caledonia who fears”the slaughter experienced by the Polynesians“.