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Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Saturday, July 18

July 18, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 582 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 10,551 cumulative known cases, the Health Ministry announced Saturday afternoon.

Two-hundred and twenty-five people are hospitalized with COVID-19 with 41 in intensive care, both new highs.

Eighty-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 7,595 known active cases and 2,902 recoveries.

Fifty-four people have died in Costa Rica after contracting the coronavirus, including seven deaths since Friday afternoon. The data indicate Costa Rica has 1.06 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people.

Costa Rica coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths on July 18, 2020
Costa Rica coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths on July 18, 2020. Tico Times graph.

As of Friday, 78 of the 88 intermediate-care beds at Costa Rica’s coronavirus-specific hospital (CEACO) were occupied. (Forty-eight more beds are being created for coronavirus patients at the adjacent Trauma Hospital.) An additional 68 people were hospitalized at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José.

In addition to the intermediate-care capacity at CEACO, Costa Rica’s Social Security System (CCSS) has plans to create up to 159 more ICU beds for coronavirus patients at various public hospitals, including at a new tower at Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José.

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) said Thursday that Costa Rica is at times transferring one person per hour into hospitals due to COVID-19.

“This impacts the entire national transfer system, with the Red Cross, the CCSS and private companies,” said Mario Urcuyo, CNE representative.

Most hospitalized patients have at least one risk factor, with hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking being the most common.

Different sectors ask for explanations of measures

The Costa Rica Restaurant Chamber asked the Health Ministry for additional leeway in Orange Alert restrictions, including allowing establishments to offer food for pickup or via drive-throughs.

“One more week, and more restaurants report that they will have to close their businesses, [meaning] more unemployment, more hunger,” the chamber wrote in an open letter.

The Municipality of Liberia on Saturday issued a press release expressing its “disagreement” with measures “that continue affecting the working class in our canton.”

“As a local government, we are in negotiation and dialogue with the corresponding authorities to achieve the reopening of Liberia commerce,” the letter reads.

Active coronavirus cases in Costa Rica

The recent spike in cases corresponds with both an increase in testing and with a higher test-positivity rate, as shown in the below graph:

Costa Rica coronavirus test positivity rate through July 15, 2020
Costa Rica coronavirus test positivity rate through July 15, 2020. Tico Times graph.

The Greater Metropolitan Area is the country’s current epicenter. The entire GAM and much of Costa Rica are under an Orange Alert and have strict health measures, including driving bans, until Sunday.

Restrictions are changing on Monday, July 20 as we detailed here.

Costa Rica has processed 65,819 tests as of Friday (12.9 tests per 1,000 people).

During its Saturday 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. The below graphic will update automatically when the Health Ministry releases that information later this afternoon.

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