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Costa Rica previews new tower at Calderón Guardia Hospital

Costa Rican authorities on Thursday previewed a new tower at Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José, which could be used by coronavirus patients in coming weeks if capacity elsewhere is saturated.

President Carlos Alvarado, joined by Health Minister Daniel Salas and the president of the Social Security System (CCSS), Román Macaya, conducted a virtual tour of the seven-story East Tower.

“The best way to not end up here is to follow measures — wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain physical distancing — and to take care of each other as a population,” said President Alvarado.

The top floor has some of the most specialized intensive-care beds in the country, Macaya said, featuring negative-pressure rooms designed for patients with highly communicable diseases.

Macaya said the new tower at Calderón Guardia Hospital would be used for COVID-19 once the coronavirus-specific hospital (CEACO) is full and after beds allocated elsewhere for those patients reach capacity.

Calderón Guardia Hospital is a public hospital near downtown San José that is run by the CCSS. It’s responsible for providing care for nearly 1.2 million people residing east of San José and in the provinces of Limón and Cartago, according to the government.

Plans for the East Tower called for more than 200 beds divided among several specialties. Macaya said the CCSS will provide more information about its actual capacity over the coming days.

Health Ministry details 25th COVID-19-related death

The Health Ministry on Wednesday announced Costa Rica’s 25th COVID-19-related death.

The 79-year-old Costa Rican, a resident of Alajuela province, died at San Francisco de Asís Hospital in Grecia. He had been hospitalized there since July 5, the date of his diagnosis.

In addition to his age, the patient had previously suffered from a stroke, which the Health Ministry said complicated his prognosis.

Eleven people have died in Costa Rica due to COVID-19 or related complications since June 27.

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