French elderly care home records 21 deaths since COVID-19 outbreak
Nilay Syam

The staff at a care home in France have been left shocked after 21 elderly people died since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in France.

The senior citizens' residence is located in Cornimont, in the Vosges region of eastern France.

Five of the deceased were infected by the virus, according to test reports, while one person is still in hospital in a critical condition.

Sophie Vinel, director of the care home, Ehpad, said: "We can't necessarily attribute all these deaths to the COVID infection because all the tests have not been done. Only hospitalized residents have tested positive, so currently five of the dead tested positive for COVID."

she added: "At first we thought it was just a simple flu. It looked like everything we'd seen before. But after just three days of confinement, we realized it wasn't at all the same as usual."

The Vosges prefecture and the Grand Est regional health agency, in a statement, said that robust measures, including the isolation of patients and the strengthening of hygiene standards, have been undertaken after the care home suffered the spike in deaths.

Alexandre Sanner, a general practitioner, who came to the facility to help, said: "The evidence I saw around me was not compatible with the flu epidemic as it had been decreasing in recent weeks. It was obvious that Covid-19 was at play."