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Costa Rica reaches 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus

March 11, 2020

Costa Rica has 22 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry reported Wednesday afternoon. The figure marks a nine-person increase over yesterday’s tally.

The national reference lab, located at INCIENSA, has ruled out 118 suspected cases after those samples tested negative. The lab has a capacity for 90 tests per day.

The Health Ministry will no longer report suspected cases of COVID-19, the agency’s director, Daniel Salas, said Wednesday.

The patients with confirmed cases range from 10 to 73 years old. Nineteen of the 22 are Costa Ricans; the remaining three are U.S. citizens. The patients contain two elderly adults and two children, Salas said.

The following cantons have presented confirmed COVID-19 cases:

  • Alajuela
  • Escazú (San José province)
  • Desamparados (San José province)
  • San José
  • San Pablo (Heredia province)
  • Grecia (Alajuela province)
  • Tibás (San José province)
  • Heredia
  • Santa Cruz (Guanacaste province)

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

“This will continue spreading throughout the country,” Salas said. “What we have to ensure is that it doesn’t transmit in a massive form in the upcoming weeks.”

The Health Ministry said it does not have any specific recommendations regarding international travel, but noted travelers may face quarantines or other measures when abroad.

“With a virus of this nature, if you close your borders to one country, or two, or three, you’re still going to get it,” Salas said. “It is a global virus.”

At least seven schools have closed temporary or transitioned to online courses. The University of Costa Rica (UCR) on Wednesday asked faculty to suspend in-person courses.

The Social Security System (Caja) has instructed public hospitals to postpone some elective procedures in preparation for coronavirus-related hospitalizations, said Román Macaya, the institution’s president. The Caja has a capacity of 5,500 beds throughout Costa Rica, of which approximately 40% are occupied by elective procedures.

This developing story will be updated as necessary. 

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