“We have an epidemic that is resuming slowly and with low intensity”, without new measures being necessary, explained the Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, on the RTL radio station on September 10. But since then, the number of cases has continued to increase without us being able to quantify it precisely. How come it has suddenly become so difficult to know the state of evolution of Covid-19 in France?
After three years of good and loyal service that follows hour after hour the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, several Public Health services in France have reduced their activity. On June 30, the real-time screening centralization portal, SI-DEP, closed its doors, as well as the SI-VIC for hospital monitoring of patients suffering from the virus.
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SOS doctors, the only indicator?
Since then, surveillance indicators are only published once a week and no longer take into account the number of daily cases, the detection rate or the positivity rate. Today, most of the data is transmitted by SOS Doctor, to which are added that of the laboratories and the OSCOUR network (Organization of Coordinated Surveillance of Emergencies), these three data sources are collected on the website of Santé Publique France. The tracking history since the start of the pandemic also remains available on Géodes and data.gouv.fr.
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These relief measures were taken in a favorable epidemic context, marked by a reduction in transmission in mainland France and abroad, due to the immunological status of the population, with a significant proportion of people vaccinated or infected with different variants, which It gives them better protection. Covid-19 is no longer the subject of special treatment, since its entry into the list of 38 diseases subject to mandatory notification along with botulism, cholera and listeriosis.
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Certainly, fewer figures have been reported for several weeks, but this almost return to normality has allowed Public Health France to concentrate its efforts on variants of concern (VOC) and work on the development of new information systems.
Towards the normalization of Covid-19 monitoring
The urgent need for monitoring and information caused by Covid-19 has been a driving force for the development of new surveillance systems. On July 31, the Ministry of Health and Solidarity published a decree in this regard. The end of the SI-DEP marks the arrival of a “global approach to these acute respiratory pathologies, the main ones being Covid-19, influenza and bronchiolitis. A monitoring normalization process that will be fully implemented at the start of the 2023-2024 season,” Santé Publique France reported on its site on July 4. It remains to be seen what level of precision this new global respiratory disease surveillance system, which already bears the nickname Laboé-SI, will offer us.
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