Costa Rica has confirmed 26 cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Friday afternoon.
The figure marks a three-person increase over Thursday’s report. It also corresponds to the first confirmed case in the province of Cartago.
“We haven’t had a major increase in cases,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas. “This doesn’t mean that the situation is stabilizing. There will continue to be more cases, but the actions we all take can help prevent a significant jump in cases.”
Three people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and one — a 54-year-old Costa Rican man — remains in serious condition. Two-hundred eighty-nine people have tested negative, the Health Ministry said.
Next week, Costa Rica will expand coronavirus testing to be available at Hospital México, San Juan de Dios Hospital, National Children’s Hospital and “probably at the private level, too,” according to Dr. Roberto Arroba, Coordinator of Influenza for the Health Ministry.
Costa Rica has activated a non-emergency line to answer citizen questions regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The new number, to be used for non-emergencies, is 1322. Emergency situations should still be directed to 911.
“Our medical workers are our army,” said Doctor Mario Ruiz Cubillo, medical manager of the CCSS (Caja).
Later Friday, the Education Ministry will publish a list of schools that will close for up to 14 days due to coronavirus risk factors. At least 300 schools will be affected, officials said, mostly in response to water shortages that could prevent students and staff from washing their hands and maintaining strict sanitary measures.
The Health Ministry asked citizens to stay home this weekend, particularly if they are older adults or have pertinent preexisting medical conditions.
This is a developing story and may be updated.