Coronavirus in Brittany: Should we be Concerned to See the Indicator of Reproduction of the Virus Turn Red?

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The Rennes University Hospital is at the forefront of welcoming patients with coronavirus from Brittany

EPIDEMIC: This indicator measuring the number of people infected with coronavirus by a patient is clearly increasing in Brittany

  • This Friday, Public Health France placed Brittany “in the red zone” concerning the indicator of “effective reproduction”. It is 2.6 this week, or one patient contaminates an average of 2.6 people.
  • “This indicator should not be taken in isolation. You have to watch it, but you have to look at it in the light of the other indicators, ”said a spokesperson for the Directorate General of Health.
  • The increase in the reproduction indicator is explained by several factors, notably a lesser use of barrier gestures or the influx of tourists.

Until now, it has been relatively unaffected by the coronavirus. But in recent days, Brittany has been showing some signs of a resumption of the epidemic on its lands. This Friday, the Regional Health Agency said that 123 new confirmed cases had been registered in two days, a sharp increase compared to previous weeks.

This Friday, Public Health France placed the entire region “in the red zone” regarding the “effective reproduction” indicator. In Brittany, this indicator is 2.6 this week. A figure that is significantly higher than the national average which means that a patient contaminates an average of 2.6 people. Should we be worried? “No, but stay vigilant,” said the health authorities.


“There is nothing alarming at the moment”

In its weekly bulletin of last week, Santé Publique France mentioned “a very low positivity rate” for the 8,900 PCR tests carried out in the region evoking a “sporadic detection of confirmed cases”. But in recent days, the reproduction indicator has jumped. “There is nothing alarming at the moment. This is just one indicator among the others, ”reassures a spokesperson for the Rennes University Hospital. “This indicator should not be taken in isolation. You have to watch it, but you have to look at it in the light of the other indicators, ”insists a spokesperson for the Directorate General of Health.


The other three indicators remain relatively low for the time being in the region, which is not experiencing an explosion in the number of cases. “We have readjusted our screening centre to offer more slots, but nothing says that they will be used,” explains the CHU de Rennes.


Fewer barrier actions, more tourists

For epidemiologists, this increase in the reproduction indicator is linked to several factors. First, the intensification of test campaigns. The more we search, the more we find. And no doubt, less use of barrier gestures, especially in June. “A large family reunification with many contact cases can quickly increase the indicator,” explains the Directorate General of Health. The influx of tourists to the region, which has been clearly felt since July 14th, could also explain this increase in the number of cases. A role that remains to be put into perspective for the moment since only 15 of the 110 new cases registered last week were domiciled outside Brittany according to Santé Publique France. 

In the region, the problem is still taken very seriously. In Finistère, the prefect Pascal Lelarge has made it mandatory to wear a mask on the markets and on the islands to cope with the influx of visitors and stop the spread of the virus. Forty-eight of the 110 new cases registered were in the department of West Brittany.

Will Brittany be the first region to undergo a “second wave”? It is far too early to say, according to epidemiologists. The incubation time of the virus being more than 14 days, we will have to wait at least a week to know the extent of the phenomenon in the region. In the meantime, respect for barrier gestures and the wearing of a mask are widely encouraged. It is always worth remembering.

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