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‘His name was Reinaldo’: Costa Rica mourns doctor’s death

April 22, 2020

Reinaldo Albernás, a gynecologist at San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital, on Monday became Costa Rica’s sixth coronavirus-related death.

The 54-year-old, a resident of Alajuela, died after a lengthy battle with COVID-19 and associated complications. Albernás tested positive for the coronavirus on March 6, and the virus provoked a pneumonia from which he did not recover.

Albernás is considered by the Health Ministry as Costa Rica’s “patient zero.” He likely contracted the virus during a February trip abroad, was asymptomatic when he returned to Costa Rica and was ultimately linked to 81 additional coronavirus cases.

A social-media post shared by the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS, or Caja) on Tuesday night commemorated Albernás, a doctor “who was always ready to help, to go beyond his obligations.”

Read the Caja’s full tribute to Albernás below:

* * * *

His name was Reinaldo

On Monday, April 20, at 7:10 in the morning, the forces of the doctor, colleague, friend and man Reinaldo Albernás ran out.

His light went out after a fierce 45-day battle, not only against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that entered his body and made him sick with COVID-19, but also against the intolerance of many, who judged him without knowing him, who without never having shared a hello or goodbye with him had sentenced him since it was announced, more among rumors and leaks, that he, Reinaldo, was the first Costa Rican to test positive for this disease on March 6.

Reinaldo was an affable, self-sacrificing doctor who was always ready to help, to go beyond his obligations.

His death is heartbreaking news for those who worked with him throughout his years as a gynecologist at the San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital, because the hope of his recovery was beating strongly in all who knew him and in many who did not know him but, as good people, wished for his recovery.

Today his parents, relatives, colleagues, friends and dozens — no, thousands — of colleagues from the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS) cry for him, knowing that a soldier of this army of health has fallen, lost the battle.

To your relatives we send our deepest condolences. Rest assured that in us, the memory of a self-sacrificing, struggling and supportive health professional will live forever, one of those that make the Caja and Costa Rica great.

Today we are saddened by his departure but we will take his memory as an incentive to strengthen this army of health that today faces one of the greatest battles that modern society has seen.

Rest in peace, Reinaldo! Here, we will continue together, protecting Costa Rica and each of its inhabitants.

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