Costa Rica has confirmed 201 cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Wednesday afternoon.
The figure marks a 24-person increase over the same time Tuesday. Six people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and four of them are in intensive care.
After confirming its first case of COVID-19 on March 6, it took 14 days for Costa Rica to reach 100 cases. Costa Rica surpassed 200 known cases just five days later.
The 201 cases comprise 183 Costa Ricans and 18 foreigners across 39 cantons in all seven of the country’s provinces. Eight patients are undergoing tests that could clear them as recovered, said Daniel Salas, Minister of Health.
Below is a map of cantons with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Click on a blue marker for more information:
Later this week, the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS, or Caja) is expected to open a medical center specializing in COVID-19 at the National Rehabilitation Center (CENARE) in San José. In preparation for an increase of cases, the Caja is also seeking hoteliers who would be willing to house stable patients who need to be quarantined.
Salas said the national reference lab at INCIENSA has the capacity to complete 150 tests for COVID-19 each day, while labs at Caja hospitals now have a similar throughput. Costa Rica is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to obtain more tests, Salas said.
Public Security Minister Michael Soto said authorities issued 159 tickets overnight to drivers who did not obey Costa Rica’s new restrictions. The regulation, which bans most vehicles between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., will continue indefinitely as a measure to reduce nonessential travel.
The Ministry of Health continues to ask people of all ages to remain home whenever possible and practice social distancing.
“We can’t have health authorities following everyone,” Salas said. “We all need to be responsible. We all need to work together.”
If you believe you may have contracted COVID-19 or have questions regarding the coronavirus, contact Costa Rican health authorities by dialing 1322.
“We will not make a distinction if you are insured or not insured,” said Román Macaya, President of CCSS. “This is an issue of national importance.”
— Ministerio de Salud (@msaludcr) March 25, 2020
This is a developing story and is being updated.