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News briefs: Police continue shutting down events, enforcing vehicular restrictions

July 6, 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:

Police continue shutting down events

Costa Rican police continue shuttering mass gatherings that break social bubbles, according to Daniel Calderón, director of the National Police.

“Events of this type at the national level keep presenting themselves,” Calderón said Monday, recapping the weekend. “We had to intervene and prevent the continuation of more than 250 events of distinct types.”

Calderón said that the number of gatherings “continues to worry us,” since many occurred in the Greater Metropolitan Area, where there is community spread of the coronavirus.

Costa Rican authorities can issue hefty fines to anyone who disobeys a home-isolation order and to business-owners whose establishments violate health guidelines.

Monday morning, National Police assisted Traffic Police in helping enforce the national vehicular restrictions, according to a Public Security Ministry (MSP) press release.

Police can fine violators 110,000 colones (about $190) and confiscate the vehicle’s license plates.

“We don’t want to fine anyone,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas. “But a fine or a sanction is to disincentivize people and to serve notice to the people around them.”

Costa Rica’s limited hospital capacity

Mario Ruiz, the medical manager of the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS), in late June detailed the country’s limited hospital capacity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

As hospitalizations rise, here’s what you should know:

  • Costa Rica’s coronavirus-specific hospital (CEACO) has 88 beds. Through Sunday, 52 are occupied.
  • As a whole, the CCSS has 477 non-ICU beds reserved for coronavirus patients. An additional 2,713 could theoretically be used by coronavirus patients, but doing so would limit capacity for other hospitalizations.
  • As a whole, the CCSS has 24 ICU beds reserved for coronavirus patients. An additional 111 could be used by coronavirus patients, and 32 of these are being converted for this purpose. Doing so limits ICU capacity for other emergencies.

As of Sunday, Costa Rica reports 77 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Ten of them are in intensive care.

Costa Rica announces three more coronavirus deaths

The Health Ministry now attributes 22 deaths to COVID-19. The three latest deaths are as follows:

  • A 43-year-old foreigner died on Sunday afternoon at Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José. The Alajuela resident had been diagnosed on June 13, and he had diabetes and hypertension.
  • An 81-year-old Costa Rican died on Sunday night at CEACO. The man had been diagnosed on June 28 in Guanacaste, and he had several risk factors, including his age, diabetes and hypertension.
  • A 51-year-old Costa Rican died on July 2 at his Cartago home after suffering from a respiratory infection. The death was attributed to COVID-19 on Monday. An investigation is ongoing.

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