France reports 5,729 people in intensive care with COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: A medical crew from Angers hospital prepares to take away a COVID-19 patient on a stretcher after his transfer by helicopter from the Ile de France region to Angers hospital, France, March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) -The French health ministry reported on Wednesday that the number of people in intensive care units (ICU) with COVID-19 increased by 103 to a new 2021 record of 5,729 people.

Week-on-week, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care rose by 13.4%, the biggest week-on-week increase since Nov. 13.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds - a measure for how well a hospital system can deal with the pandemic - is already above the peak of nearly 5,000 set in mid-November during the second lockdown, but still below the record of 7,148 set on April 8, 2020 during the first lockdown.

Announcing France's third nationwide lockdown last week, President Emmanuel Macron said the number of ICU beds would be raised from 7,000 to over 10,000.

The health ministry also reported 433 new deaths from COVID-19 in French hospitals and said that more than 13 million people had now been vaccinated against COVID-19, including 9.8 million with a first shot.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq, Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Mark Heinrich)

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