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Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Sunday, July 19

Costa Rica confirmed 563 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 11,114 cumulative known cases, the Health Ministry announced Sunday afternoon.

Two-hundred and forty-one people are hospitalized with COVID-19 with 44 in intensive care, both new highs.

Sixty-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 8,086 known active cases and 2,966 recoveries.

Sixty-two people have died in Costa Rica after contracting the coronavirus, including eight deaths since Saturday afternoon. The data indicate Costa Rica has 1.21 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people.

Costa Rica coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths on Sunday, July 19
Tico Times graph.

“When we have a collapse of healthcare services, when deaths start to be constant, the economy immediately suffers,” Health Minister Daniel Salas said Sunday. “We’re at a crossroads and it’s difficult — if we allow the economic reopening that people and different sectors want, the only thing that’s going to happen is the healthcare services will collapse and we will have many more deaths.

“I want to find a balance.”

As of Friday, 77 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 65 people were hospitalized at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José; for the foreseeable future, coronavirus patients will be referred elsewhere.

“At this moment, the San Juan de Dios has reached the top of its capacity for hospitalization of COVID patients,” said Mario Ruíz, medical manager of the Costa Rican Social Security System.

At San Juan de Dios Hospital and the San Carlos Hospital, outbreaks of COVID-19 among surgery staff has also reduced operating capacity, Ruíz said.

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

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
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 67,077 tests as of Saturday (13.1 tests per 1,000 people).

During its Sunday 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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