Fast COVID Tests Rushed to French Nursing Homes Amid Surge in Cases.
The pressure is mounting at French nursing homes where more than 400 people with COVID-19 have died in the past week, some residents are again being confined to their rooms and cut off from their families.
“I cry every day,” said Patricia Deliry, 81, whose daughter usually provides daily assistance at her Paris care home but has been kept away for the past two weeks as part of the home’s virus protection efforts. Deliry hasn’t been able to see fellow residents either. “We’re confined, closed in from morning to night.”
The French Health Minister, Olivier Veran, said on Friday that the government is sending 1.6 million rapid virus tests to care homes across the country to allow them to test their staff. It’s part of efforts to avoid mass new confinement of nursing home residents after the anguish caused during a nationwide lockdown in the spring. Germany launched a similar program this week.
“The goal is to learn lessons from the first wave,” said the government minister for elderly care issues, Brigitte Bourgignon, while visiting a nursing home south of Paris on Friday. “What we want is to stay on this balancing line — which is difficult — between the protection that we owe our elders but also the fact that we should respect their rights and therefore not isolate them totally.”
According to public health agency figures, more people have died with the virus in French nursing homes in the last two weeks than in the previous five months combined. The health minister said Friday that 15% of homes currently have active virus cases, and “mortality is growing every day as we saw in the first wave.”
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