The epidemic is racing in Martinique in a very poorly vaccinated population

“We may expect a surge.” The director general of the Fort-de-France hospital, Benjamin Garel, is worried about the fourth wave of Covid which threatens to saturate hospital services, an aggravation all the more noticeable as few Martinicans have been vaccinated .

In its Martinique University Hospital Center in Fort-de-France, the ballet of caregivers from the Covid unit is well regulated. A nurse puts on protective gear before entering a patient’s room. Hand disinfection, charlotte, mask… The gestures are repeated, become automatisms. But Benjamin Garel does not hide his concern: There is a possible “surge on resuscitation in the coming days, because we see that patients are getting worse on conventional hospitalization.” So we will have to open a lot of beds very quickly, while we are in a period of leave. It’s not going to be easy ”.

Doubling the number of people vaccinated in a week

Olivier Coudin, deputy director general of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Martinique sheds light on the figures, with a doubling of the number of people infected last week compared to the previous week. “We were at 1,000 Covid people two weeks ago. We went to 2,260 people last week ”. “We are really on figures that we had never known, with an incidence rate which is today at 625 whereas it had been at the time of the 3rd wave at 270 at the worst of the crisis”, s ‘he alarms. An unusual figure compared to the situation in metropolitan France, which is already worrying.

At the prefecture of Fort-de-France, the prefect Stanislas Cazelles calls for the responsibility of everyone. “Martinique was exemplary in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves, today it is the territory where the virus has circulated the least. He still mourned a hundred families. But it is true that for many, the virus remains largely virtual, so we must show everyone that the epidemic is very present. I can tell you that with 2,000 people last week, with 1,000 the week before, there are many families in which there are now people sick with Covid ”.

“Irrationality on vaccines”

Olivier Coudin recalls the sanitary measures. “We have seen that this deterioration at the beginning, it was linked to festive moments, to moments of sharing, to times when people respected barrier gestures a little less, so we repeat, and the CHU, and all the professionals say it, it is absolutely necessary that we can respect the barrier gestures, it is absolutely necessary that people isolate themselves when they have symptoms ”.

“And then we have to reach a much higher level of vaccination in Martinique,” ​​he emphasizes. The number of people with a complete vaccination schedule (1st and 2nd injections) was 50,262 as of July 20, or only 15.62% of the population of the island, against 45.9% nationally. Benjamin Garel drives home the point. “We what we see is that studies show that vaccines work and that it decreases by twelve the case of contaminations, they eliminate the serious case, the side effects are almost nil.”

“With this irrationality on vaccines, we are wondering today if we would be able to eradicate smallpox,” he continues. “So we don’t understand. We try a lot to reassure… ”. To understand the obstacles to vaccination in Martinique, the ARS announced this week that it would conduct a large online citizen consultation, until August 20.

In the meantime, restrictive measures are getting tougher. Since July 13, Martinique has been placed in a state of health emergency and subject to a 2021 curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Since Wednesday, travel with France is subject to an overriding reason for unvaccinated people and since Thursday restaurants can only accommodate the public on outdoor terraces. As everywhere else in France, the “sanitary pass” has become compulsory for places of leisure and culture bringing together more than 50 people.

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