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Costa Rica adds just four more known coronavirus cases; up to 117 nationwide

March 21, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed just four new cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, reaching 117 known instances, the Health Ministry announced Saturday.

The four-person increase is Costa Rica’s smallest since March 13-14 and surprised health authorities.

“It’s possible that our mitigation measures — that first wave — is showing positive results,” said Rodrigo Marín, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry. “But that’s not to say this is over. Under no circumstances can we let our guard down. It’s a good figure, but the situation could complicate very quickly.”

The cases comprise 107 Costa Ricans and 10 foreigners. Six people are currently hospitalized, and three are in intensive care.

Nearly 1,200 people have tested negative since the country began testing for COVID-19. Two elderly adults have died after contracting the coronavirus, and two U.S. citizens recovered and were cleared to return to their home country on Friday.

Costa Rica coronavirus cases by canton
Costa Rica coronavirus cases by canton (Via the Health Ministry.)

Despite the low increase in known coronavirus cases over the last day, President Carlos Alvarado reminded the public that the government’s message remains the same: Costa Rica remains in a State of Emergency, and all citizens should remain home when possible.

“We need to remain strictly disciplined in following our health measures,” President Alvarado said. “We need to keep our guards up.”

The national reference lab at INCIENSA says the country can now process 150 tests a day. The Pan American Health Organization is preparing a shipment of additional tests to Costa Rica, health authorities said Friday.

Costa Rica has suspended mass gathering events; closed national parks and protected wildlife areas; closed schools, bars and clubs; instructed establishments to operate at 50% capacity; enforced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for citizens and residents returning from abroad; and is not permitting tourists to enter the country until April 13.

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