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Faced with the explosion in the number of calls, the Samu opens a special cell

How the Samu of Toulouse organizes itself in response to calls related to the coronavirus – 20 minutes

  • For the past ten days, the Samu Toulouse call center 15 has been facing an increase in the number of calls concerning the coronavirus, generating an increase in activity of 20 to 40%.
  • To deal with this influx of calls, a special cell has just been activated so as not to damage the classic activity of 15.
  • No patient has yet been diagnosed with coronavirus in Haute-Garonne.

“Yesterday I had a lady on the phone calling because her colleagues quarantined her on the pretext that she was coughing. We felt that it was hard psychologically for her, “says Philippe Frontin. This type of call to 15, usually the deputy head of the from Samu 31 does not receive it. He who is used to dealing with serious cases, which require a quick medical decision, for the past ten days he has had to face requests from people anxious at the idea of ​​having been able to contract the
coronavirus.

Like this Toulouse mother whose son has had a fever since Monday and coughs. “Haven’t you traveled recently? Haven’t you had contact with someone at risk? “Asks Maxime, one of the medical regulation assistants from 15. After a few seconds of discussion, he ends up directing him towards a general practitioner in the medical center who is in a room a few meters away.

20 to 40% more activity

With the explosion in the number of calls in recent days, the Toulouse University Hospital had to set up a specific device. Since Tuesday morning, people dialing 15 must indicate before having an online contact if they call about the Covid-19. Their call is then directed to a room dedicated solely to these questions, where medical regulation assistants take turns.

Because since February 24, the Samu has recorded an average increase of 40% in cases processed compared to the same period last year. “On average, we process 1,000 files per day for which we can have several calls. Currently, the epidemic is 200 to 250 more cases per day. Yesterday in the 8 am to 9 am period, we climbed to almost 50 cases processed by the hour, ”explains Philippe Frontin, who had to reorganize the service so that the other patients victims of a heart attack or an accident are not penalized by this influx.

The personnel were called back and general practitioners, sometimes retired or available, also responded to take the calls.

Some people confuse the 15 and the 0800 130 000, the information hotline set up by the government. So, in 80% of cases it is a question of reassuring them or redirecting them. “In a certain number of cases, we are obliged to take samples. People who cannot get around are transported by ambulance. Currently, this is the case for 4 to 6 patients per day. Those who can come on their own must follow a dedicated circuit inside the CHU, “continues the Samu official, who does not hide his fear of the effect that the detection of a proven case in the Pink City could have.

Infectious Disease Service ready

Just like his colleagues in the Infectious and Tropical Diseases Service (Smit) who have been hosting suspected patients for the past few days. “For the moment, ten beds in negative pressure rooms are reserved for the care of these patients. We have already hosted around thirty, none have been confirmed, “said Professor Guillaume Martin-Blondel, deputy head of SMIT, who has had to deal with more deadly infections in recent years, notably the coronavirus. Middle East respiratory syndrome,
the MERS-Cov, on the return from the Mecca pilgrimage.

“Today, we are adapting day by day, we are ready to ensure in the coming weeks, we have the necessary stocks in masks. I’m not worried, we have more and more data on the severity of coronavirus which is relatively low. Our concern is more about the disorganization of the health system, “says Professor Pierre Delobel, the head of Smit.

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