Costa Rica confirmed 649 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 6,485 cumulative known cases, the Health Ministry announced Thursday afternoon.
The 649 new cases are by far the largest day-over-day increase announced by Costa Rica. One-hundred and twenty people are hospitalized with COVID-19, also a new high.
“This evidences an exponential acceleration in cases that is very worrying,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas.
Salas said the Health Ministry hadn’t projected such an increase in cases until at least July 13, and that the number of new cases reduces the ability to trace and minimize outbreaks.
Costa Rican authorities will meet Thursday night to analyze health measures and will likely announce new ones over the coming days, Salas said. President Carlos Alvarado says decisions will be made based on recommendations from the country’s top epidemiologists.
Ninety-four more people have been classified as recovered under Costa Rica’s definitions that qualify certain patients based on time rather than a negative test.
Costa Rica has 4,437 active cases and 2,023 recoveries.
Twenty-five people have died in Costa Rica after contracting the coronavirus, including two deaths Wednesday. Fourteen people are currently in intensive care.
The data indicate Costa Rica has 0.49 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people.
As of Thursday, 73 of the 88 intermediate-care beds at Costa Rica’s coronavirus-specific hospital (CEACO) are occupied, meaning COVID-19 patients will soon have a larger impact on other hospitals.
In addition to the intermediate-care capacity at CEACO, Costa Rica has 24 coronavirus-specific intensive-care beds and is preparing 32 more ICU beds for those patients.
A new tower at Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José can house 64 coronavirus patients; San Juan de Dios Hospital and Hospital México will also receive these patients.
Most hospitalized patients have at least one risk factor, with hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking being the most common.
Active coronavirus cases in Costa Rica
During its Thursday press conference, the Health Ministry did not provide full detailed information on the locations of the new positive cases or the amount of tests processed.
Data released later Thursday indicated authorities had processed 1,923 tests over the previous 24 hours. (One person can be tested multiple times.)
The Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS) is conducting mass testing on asymptomatic residents of Alajuelita canton.
The recent spike in cases corresponds with both an increase in testing and with a higher test-positivity rate. From June 27 through July 6, Costa Rica averaged 968 tests and 241 new known cases daily.
The Health Ministry considers the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) as the country’s current epicenter and says there is community transmission in that region. Much of the GAM is under an orange alert.
The below graphic will update automatically when the Health Ministry releases its full report later this afternoon.