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News briefs: Health Ministry investigates after patient reports being denied COVID-19 testing

April 1, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life in Costa Rica, which has declared a State of Emergency and enacted sweeping measures to slow its spread.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Health Ministry investigates apparent testing failure

The Health Ministry is launching an investigation after a man presenting at a public clinic with fever and breathing difficulties was allegedly denied a test for COVID-19.

The man later tested positive at a private medical center, according to a complaint filed by a family member.

“The Health Minister, Daniel Salas, instructed the General Audit of Health Services to carry out an investigation to clarify what happened in the Marcial Fallas Clinic after a test was allegedly denied to a patient who later went to a private laboratory and tested positive,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The agency said it will have no further comment until its investigation is complete.

“My dad is now in intensive care,” Amanda Mesén, the man’s daughter, told Delfino.cr.  “He is intubated, and he is unconscious and he has a condition that he is unlikely to survive.”

Salas said at his Wednesday press conference that the investigation will allow the Health Ministry “to have clarity on what our shortfalls were and how we can improve.”

Commercial flights to U.S. ‘have now ceased’

United States citizens in Costa Rica have few options for returning to their home country.

All U.S. airlines have suspended service to Costa Rica for the upcoming weeks.

“Commercial flights between the United States have now ceased,” an alert from the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica reads, “and the Embassy is not aware of any planned flights in the near future.

“The Embassy is working with airlines to gauge demand for either additional commercial flights or U.S. government-organized flights if no commercial flights are available.”

A search on Kayak.com for flights between Juan Santamaría International Airport and Miami showed no options until an April 17 offering from Copa Airlines with a layover in Panama City.

If you are a U.S. citizen interested in being added to a list for a potential U.S. government-organized flight, the Embassy asks that you submit this online form. If you are unable to complete the online form, citizens should email ACSSanJose@state.gov.

Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela maintains a list of airlines and their scheduled service on their website.

Members of La Sele remind public to stay home

A video released by the Costa Rican Soccer Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) features many of Costa Rica’s biggest soccer stars reminding the public that we are in “the most important match of our lives.”

Watch Celso Borges, Raquel Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Shirley Cruz, Bryan Ruiz and Kendall Waston ask Costa Ricans for their support:

If you can’t see the above video, click here for a direct link

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