The Mayenne people see the end of the tunnel. After a month of July marked by a strong circulation of Covid-19, the epidemic now seems to be under control again in the Pays de la Loire department, welcome the authorities.
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“ The people of Mayenne mobilized, observed all the barrier gestures, agreed to be massively tested: it worked! ”, Said Friday morning the Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon on France Inter. “ With the reaction of citizens, we can curb the epidemic and put an end to risky clusters. "
It is the end of a trying streak for the Mayenne people, many of whom have complained of having suffered in recent weeks from an image of pariah in the eyes of the French. A test for this department bordering Normandy and Brittany, where the tourist season suffered a decline of 20 to 30% in July.
The bad news began on July 1, with the discovery of a first cluster, in the Holvia Porc slaughterhouse, located in Laval: out of 60 people tested, 28 were found to be positive for Covid-19. In the days that followed, the virus spread and reached five additional epidemiological foci, mainly meat processing companies and structures that welcome and house precarious people. The first week of July, 139 people tested positive in the department. This is almost twice the total number of cases detected in June. ARS Pays de la Loire is sounding the alarm.
To deal with the situation, a massive screening plan was launched on July 8. " We will target next week the inhabitants of Laval and L'Huisserie, that is to say 60,000 people, then the south of the department and, at the end, all the Mayennais ", declares Jean-Jacques Coiplet, the director of the 'ARS. Objective: break the chain of transmission, and avoid re-containment. Drive-based testing systems have been stepped up, dozens of accommodation places are open to accommodate people who test positive in isolation. The forty operators of the health brigade of the CPAM in Mayenne are hard at work to identify contact cases and investigate clusters. 4,800 people will be supported by this structure during the month of July.
The end of the state of health emergency falls on July 10, at the worst time for Mayenne, while the circulation of the virus continues to alarm. A crash, according to Doctor Gilles Ollivier, president of the Mayenne Departmental Council of the Order of Physicians (CDOM), who requested, without success, the extension of measures at the local level. The regional health authorities are trying to reassure by further increasing testing capacities, but the decision will remain a stone in the garden of the ARS, in the eyes of health professionals.
On July 15, the department was classified as a high vulnerability situation, based on three indicators: an estimate of 50.1 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants, a reproduction rate (R0) of 1.5 and cases tested positive at 5.5%. The next day, the government asked the prefect of Mayenne to put in place the obligation to wear a mask in closed public places without waiting for August 1. The test sites are being taken by storm.
On July 20, Olivier Véran, traveling in the department, declared that the authorities are " in the process of breaking the curve " in Mayenne. On that day, the test positivity rate was 3.2% on Monday. Four days later, it climbed to 3.8%, but fell back to 3% on July 28, a sign that the measures are bearing fruit, although new clusters continue to be identified. To further strengthen the device, the prefect prohibits gatherings of more than ten people.
The situation in Mayenne is being watched like milk on fire by the health authorities. In the space of two weeks, no less than 41,000 tests are carried out. On August 4, positive news was announced: “ We confirm a downward trend in the incidence rate and the positivity rate and, with all usual caveats, we can say that our action plan (.. .) is going in the right direction ”, indicates Jean-Jacques Coiplet, of the ARS. The incidence rate, " that is to say the number of positive people compared to 100,000 inhabitants ", is now "around 50 per 100,000 inhabitants", specifying that the positivity rate has fallen to 1.4% .
On August 7, the department returned to orange, with an incidence rate that dropped to 36.3 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. “ The Mayenne population was a pioneer, you were exemplary men and women ,” says Jérôme Salomon. While detractors are not lacking, especially on the side of general practitioners, the health authorities are nevertheless delighted to have managed to manage this situation in the form of a "crash test", while the prospect of a second wave continues to raise concerns. .