Jump in France’s Daily COVID-19 Death Toll Tied to Unreported Hospital Cases

September 19, 2020 Updated: September 19, 2020

PARIS—A sudden jump in France’s daily death toll from COVID-19 stems from previously unreported cases in one hospital near Paris, according to statements by health authorities.

The health ministry reported on Friday that the total number of deaths from COVID-19 increased by 154 to 31,249, a 4-month high in the daily death toll and triple the levels of the past week.

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

These previously unreported deaths were retroactively added all at once, the agency said, explaining the magnitude of the jump on Friday. On Thursday, French authorities had said the death toll had risen by 50 in one day.

“This data catch-up concerns 237 admission files, including 76 deaths… which explains the increase in the number of deaths reported to date,” the health agency said.

The hospital in question is located in the department of Essonne, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) south of Paris, according to a separate statement from Geodes, which monitors public health data.

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

Spokespeople for the health ministry and its national health agency weren’t immediately available for comment.

By Mathieu Rosemain and Henri-Pierre André