Except for the regular beep of the machines to which the patients in intensive care are attached, silence dominates on the first floor of the Tripode building. A deceptive silence, which masks the thud of the fourth wave which is falling slowly, but surely, on the intensive medicine and intensive care unit of the Pellegrin hospital group, one of the establishments of the Bordeaux University Hospital.
On August 4, three Covid patients were transferred there, bringing the number to seven. The previous week, there were only three. The majority of these patients admitted to intensive care are between 25 and 55 years old.
“For ten days, we feel that things are accelerating”, notes, with a resigned shrug, the anesthesiologist Charline Sazio within the unit. Relatively spared by the previous waves, the Bordeaux region has seen its incidence rates explode since mid-July.
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If they tend to stabilize in Gironde, the doctors are not fooled. “There is a lag of about ten days between the onset of symptoms and their potential worsening, so we know that the wave is in front of us. », Specifies Dr. Sazio. She also expects patients to be transferred from other more affected areas.
With the Delta variant, new profiles in intensive care
Doctors are also attentive to the profile of patients, which has not been the same since the Delta variant is in the majority. “Now we have people in their thirties. Some without risk factors, mostly unvaccinated or not completely, remarks Pierre Godard, another of the unit’s resuscitators. These are not patients that we saw with the original strain. “
The day before, the doctors were able to remove, after ten days of intubation, a 37-year-old man who did not present with comorbidity. “Slightly overweight but rather athletic “, Describes Pierre Godard, who fears that the young man will suffer from the effects of the Covid for a long time.
Difficult to see clearly, between the sequelae of the disease and those of prolonged intubation. At the CHU, doctors admit not knowing what to expect Covid patients in the years to come. “The young people we see arriving in the service do not die of the Covid, recognizes Charline Sazio. But we see patients who, months after their recovery, still cannot walk or even eat without being out of breath. “
Faced with this observation, Dr. Godard notes a paradox: “Some refuse to be vaccinated for fear of the very long-term effects … But there is probably more to fear the consequences over time of the Covid. We realize that it can last. “
Misunderstanding when faced with the refusal of vaccination
When she sees young and unvaccinated patients arriving, Coralie, an intensive care nurse, is confused. ” That depresses me. I understand that people are afraid, but it drives me crazy to see false information circulating on the internet about the vaccine, because that’s why some patients come here. », She reacts. In the next room, a man in his sixties, without major risk factors, has been intubated for ten days. Of the last ten Covid patients to join the service, eight did not have a complete vaccination schedule, and the other two were vaccinated but immunocompromised.
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For the moment, in Bordeaux, the Covid activity is not the majority. Although she is crossing her fingers that vaccination will bring down the fourth wave, Charline Sazio fears having to, as is already the case in other cities in the region such as Bayonne, to deprogram the care of other patients. “Since the second wave, we have not been able to catch up with the accumulated delay. Some have been waiting for a year. Having to delay their interventions again when we have a vaccine…, that pisses me off a bit. “
A 37% increase in critical care hospitalizations
Critical care welcomed 1,510 patients as of August 7, up 37% compared to the week of July 26 to 1er August. There are, on average, 45 deaths due to Covid each day, up 25%. In total, 112,222 people have died in France since the start of the pandemic.
At 1er August, the median age of patients on admission (conventional hospitalizations or in critical care) was 57 years against 63 years a year ago.
At the end of July, more than 80% of patients admitted to hospital for Covid-19 were not vaccinated. Fully vaccinated patients accounted for about 7% of admissions.
Sources: Public health France, Drees.