In the Gers, in recent days, two reasons for pride dominate. The exploits of the XV of France which has in its ranks four players trained in the Gascon department, including the nugget Antoine Dupont. And the local strategy to fight Covid-19, the incidence rate of which is here below the national average. In this area, it is the PS president of the departmental council of Gers Philippe Martin who shines. Contrary to certain regional presidents who have fallen at arms length against the government, the former Minister of Ecology of François Hollande (2012-2013) has favored close cooperation with the State and set up a series of innovative actions that earned him a congratulatory message from Emmanuel Macron.
Every week since November 14, the elected chair has chaired a board of analysis and vigilance on the epidemic, an unprecedented structure that brings together state services, health professionals, elected officials of all stripes and citizens drawn by lot, including the discussions are broadcast live on Facebook live. As a result, proposals that could not be more concrete: the putting into circulation of itinerant buses to test the population in the most remote villages of the Gers, the activation of a local reservation platform to be vaccinated, installation of 16 local vaccination centers, a campaign of antigen tests in secondary schools, etc.
“No time for criticism and controversy”
“In this land of rugby, the population is waiting for us to form a pack, and above all for quick and transparent decisions,” Philippe Martin confides to us, seated in front of his files and a bottle of hydroalcoholic gel based on armagnac . “I have my convictions, I can have questions about what is being done by the government. But in the current period, I don’t have time for criticism and controversy, ”he continues.
This Monday morning, the boss of the Gers has a smile. The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, whom he knows well for having shared the same socialist benches in the National Assembly, accepted his invitation to participate by videoconference in the 12th council of analysis and vigilance of the Gers. A few words of encouragement before heading off to get vaccinated in a hospital in the Paris region under the watchful eye of the photographers. And a clear message. “I am the first to say it: we need national unity, we need innovation in the territories, we need mutual trust, greets the Minister. Public health, it has no party, but it has only one interest, and that is to protect people ”.
A very palpable request for protection in Saramon, a town of 850 souls located 25 minutes from Auch, where a test bus from the department stops on Monday at the end of the morning. On the main square of the village, theater every year in May of the World Championship of magrets eaters, we queue to undergo a PCR test.
For the most part, this is a first, like Francis, 69 years old. “It should be like this everywhere: testing, vaccinating and… praying,” he approves. An inhabitant, more caustic, slips that Philippe Martin, “that one sees everywhere”, also campaigns without saying it, a few weeks of the departmental ones.
New buses for home vaccinations
“He’s a smart guy: he understood the importance for our fellow citizens of seeing that everyone is working in the same direction” confirms a local elected official who insists, for his part, on the key role of the prefect of Gers, Xavier Brunetière, in charge of the local health strategy. Philippe Martin readily agrees. “We talk a lot about the prefect-mayor couple, but the prefect-president of the department, it also works. We see each other almost every two days, ”he emphasizes.
The duo is already working on their next projects: deploying new buses from February 22 to vaccinate the most severely disabled people at home. And of course ramp up on injections.
“We have set ourselves the goal of vaccinating 130,000 Gers residents by the summer, or 65% of the population, to achieve a form of collective immunity,” explains Philippe Martin. This is the only way to find a normal life ”. And to be able, one day, to return to the stadium.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr