Costa Rica has confirmed 295 cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Saturday afternoon.
The figure marks a 32-person increase over the same time Friday. It matches the largest day-over-day increase in known cases of COVID-19 within Costa Rica.
In addition, 15 people are now hospitalized with COVID-19, six more than on Friday. Six of the hospitalized patients are in intensive care.
Two elderly adults have died after contracting COVID-19, and three people have recovered.
The 295 cases are located in 50 cantons across all seven of Costa Rica’s provinces.
Below is a map of cantons with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Click on a blue marker for more information:
“It’s unfortunate to say this, but this number will keep rising,” said Daniel Salas, Costa Rica’s Health Minister. “And if this number rises quickly over the coming weeks, then people who need intensive care will not get the care they need.”
The Health Ministry said that starting Saturday, all establishments and businesses that are open to the public must close for the night at 8 p.m. The only exceptions are food and medication delivery services, Salas said.
In addition, the Health Ministry is presenting law projects that will increase fines for individuals that don’t comply with sanitary orders or violate the new nighttime vehicle restrictions.
Salas said the country is still “several weeks, if not months” from reaching its peak of coronavirus cases.
“This is just beginning,” he said. “We’re just now seeing the increase of cases. A lot of weeks are left, if not months, for us to see the peak of the curve. The responsibility that each of us carries is enormous. We’re talking about lives that can be saved.”
Salas said Costa Rica can now process about 600 tests for COVID-19 each day.
If you believe you may have contracted COVID-19 or have questions regarding the coronavirus, contact Costa Rican health authorities by dialing 1322.
Costa Rica expands vehicle restrictions
Costa Rica is expanding its nighttime vehicle restrictions during the weekend.
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, most vehicles will not be permitted on Costa Rican roads between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following morning. The expansion is a two-hour increase over weeknights, when the nationwide restriction begins at 10 p.m.
A full list of vehicle exceptions is here.
The new weekend hours begin Saturday, March 28.
Drivers who do not comply with the restriction will be fined $40, though a law project seeks to increase the fine to 107,000 colones (about $185).