In Ehpad, the “second battle” against the coronavirus

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Protective equipment is sorely lacking, and concern is growing about the consequences of the residents’ very strict confinement.

By Anne-Laure Frémont and Vincent Bordenave
Territorial agents from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region are preparing protection kits and masks for nursing staff in nursing homes on April 3 in Lyon.
Territorial agents from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region are preparing protection kits and masks for nursing staff in nursing homes on April 3 in Lyon. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

After hospitals, the “Second battle” against coronavirus is carried out in retirement homes, according to Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. And “To win it, you have to mobilize resources”. Every day, the toll increases: more than 3,200 deaths linked to Covid-19 have been recorded in nursing homes and medico-social establishments since 1er March. Tragedies behind closed doors, such as at La Riviera in Mougins, in the Alpes-Maritimes, where at least 34 residents died within a few days. In the regions most affected by the epidemic, such as the Grand Est or the Ile-de-France, staff are poor. “I have colleagues in situations of extreme stress, who sometimes face ten deaths in one day”, says Gaël Durel, president of the National Association of coordinating physicians in nursing homes and medico-social.

But for the past two weeks, the mobilization has intensified. “In terms of locking and protection, the maximum is done”, says Annabelle Vêques,

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