A stream of disco music escapes from one of the rooms in the Covid-19 geriatric unit. The sound environment contrasts with the gravity of the situation at Auxerre hospital. Six out of 26 beds were unoccupied that morning. A first for two weeks.
“We had to refuse three patients forty-eight hours ago, explains Sarah Lelarge, the doctor in charge of the geriatrics center. But the lull will be very short-lived. The holidays probably favored the circulation of the virus. This is the rebound effect, seven days after the contaminations, patients are admitted to our departments. “ The lights are already red in the Yonne department, which narrowly escaped the 6 p.m. curfew now imposed in 15 departments.
Patients aged 75 and over sick with Covid-19
Just by walking through the short corridor of the unit, made narrow by the various carts placed outside the rooms, the geriatrician walks six or seven kilometers a day. “I have good sneakers”, she smiles. Behind his mask and his glasses, we can guess his drawn features. Since the end of November, its acute geriatrics department has only been welcoming Covid-19 patients over 75 years old with other pathologies, and at all stages of the disease.
“We are in the tunnel of the second wave”, explains Sarah Lelarge. The geriatrician recounts dramatic situations that are repeated, “Like these couples carried away together by the disease”.
The whole hospital is under tension. The ten Covid sheaves are all occupied and hospitalization services navigate by sight. “During the crisis units we can only take decisions for two or three days as the situation is unstable”, describes Doctor Bernard Makhoul, vice-president of the establishment medical committee.
Covid units are understaffed
A surgery unit has been closed in order to be able to redeploy staff to the Covid units. But despite this, caregivers are still understaffed. Céline, a nurse, was assigned to a nursing assistant station in the Covid-19 hospitalization department. She helps Myriam (1), 42, to get up from her chair to go to the bathroom.
Two doors further on, in the nursing station, Mathilde and Zahra, also nurses, are preparing medicines. “I come from pediatrics, after two months here, I will soon be returning to my department”, explains Mathilde, 23, visibly impatient.
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By his side Zahra, in her forties, works part time in the hospital, and part time at home. “We use our elbows, we help each other. I am a regular at the Covid unit. But we don’t have a choice, we’re going to hold on until it stops. But when ? “, she worries. “How could we project ourselves? The flow of patients is constant. When one fate, another happens ”, describes Mohand Ouamer Kaci, pulmonologist and head of the Covid hospitalization unit.
Metal signs now indicate the entrance to services
A sign that the provisional is being installed, the entrance to the service is now indicated by a gray metal plate fixed above the door on which is engraved “ Covid Unit ”. On the same landing, another permanent sign shows the center of “Covid-19 sample”.
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Every morning, people from outside the hospital can come to be tested here, the hospital laboratory having an analysis capacity of 300 to 350 tests per day. “We have also just received 120 samples from the departmental retirement home, explains Isabelle Labourdette, head of the biology laboratory. The nursing homes are testing entire wings and the positivity rates are still very high. “
“We hope that the vaccine will have a positive effect over the coming months. We need it, we really need it ”, insists Sarah Lelarge, the geriatrician.
Delay in receiving the vaccine for the Yonne department
The enormous “made in Japan” super-freezer received on December 24 by the pharmacy of the Auxerre hospital center is still empty. Doses of Pfizer / BioNtech’s vaccine expected on Monday, January 4 should finally be delivered only by here “January 12 or 13”. This delay could have an impact on the rest of the vaccination circuit. In fact, the Auxerre hospital was chosen as the pivotal site for redistributing the doses for the entire department, depending in particular on the needs of establishments where the elderly reside.