So far, the department had been rather spared. At the beginning of April, when France had an incidence rate of nearly 400 per 100,000 inhabitants, Creuse had only 50 per 100,000. But 15 days later, on April 18, this rate reached 192 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, or four times more.

Clusters in a high school and nursing home

According to’Regional Health Agency (ARS) Nouvelle-Aquitaine, half of the cases were recorded in two communes, Ahun and Auzances, which each host a cluster.

The first at the agricultural high school in Ahun and the second at the Bois-Joli nursing home, where residents had yet been vaccinated in early 2021.

30% South African and Brazilian variants

How to explain these two clusters and the outbreak on the scale of the department? By a strong presence of variants. The Creuse also has almost no historical strain of the coronavirus, which represents only 0.6% of cases of contamination. Conversely, the British variant represents 68.2% of cases, the indeterminate variants 0.6% but it is above all the South African and Brazilian variants that surprise: they represent 30.5% of cases. The latter two could explain the outbreak in April.

By comparison, in mainland France, Public Health France has 4.5% historical strain of covid, 82.6% British variant, 8.7% undetermined variants and only 4.2% South African and Brazilian variant.

188% hospital pressure

For the moment, public health data in France do not allow us to differentiate the South African variant from the Brazilian in its statistics. In Creuse, the two clusters are probably due to one or the other of these variants. Analyzes are underway to determine this, but also to trace the chains of contamination.

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On the evening of April 20, 53 people were hospitalized for covid in Creuse, including 15 patients in intensive care. The hospital pressure in the department is 188%. Nationally, this tension is on average 114%.