But he said the number of intensive care patients continues to drop by two weeks, falling from 165 in 24 hours to 5,053.
“We nevertheless remain at an exceptional level, beyond the maximum capacity for intensive care pre-crisis in France”, or 5,000 beds, said the Ministry of Health in a statement.
The majority of the reported deaths (13,547) occurred in hospital and the remainder in retirement homes and other facilities.
Although hospitals across France are still receiving a steady stream of new cases, the total number of those who remain hospitalized for the virus continues to drop, highlighting an eight-day trend.
A total of 29,219 cases are currently being treated at the hospital, down 522 on Wednesday.
Since the start of the epidemic, 42,088 people have left the hospital, not counting the tens of thousands who have recovered without being interned, the health service said.
French authorities say the next few days are essential if the country is to meet the May 11 target of gradually ending the national foreclosure measures imposed in mid-March.
Authorities have warned that the internment must have been successful before decarceration can begin.
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