Jump in the daily number of COVID deaths in France linked to unreported hospital cases

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FILE PHOTO: A health worker, wearing a protective suit and face mask, prepares to administer a nasal swab to a patient at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test site in Paris, France, on September 14, 2020. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) – A sudden increase in the daily death toll in France from COVID-19 comes from previously unreported cases at a hospital near Paris, according to statements by health officials.

The Department of Health reported on Friday that the total number of deaths from COVID-19 increased by 154 to 31,249, a four-month high in the daily number of deaths and tripling the levels from last week.

That figure included 76 deaths recorded in a hospital near Paris, according to an explanatory note posted online by Santé Publique France, the country’s national health agency which reports new cases of COVID-19 every day.

These previously unreported deaths were added retroactively at the same time, the agency said, explaining the magnitude of Friday’s jump. On Thursday, French authorities said the death toll rose by 50 in one day.

“This catching up of data concerns 237 admission files, including 76 deaths … which explains the increase in the number of deaths declared to date”, specifies the health agency.

The hospital in question is located in the department of Essonne, about 55 km south of Paris, according to a separate statement from Geodes, which monitors public health data.

“This increase in the number of people hospitalized … does not reflect new hospitalizations but newly reported hospitalizations,” said Geodes on its website, with reference to this Essonne hospital.

Spokesmen for the Ministry of Health and its national health agency were not immediately available for comment.

Report by Mathieu Rosemain and Henri-Pierre André; Additional reports by Tangi Salaün; Edited by Ros Russell

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