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News briefs: Costa Rica explains Orange Alert criteria

July 28, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has transformed life in Costa Rica, which has enacted measures to protect the capacity of its health system.

Here’s what you should know as a new day starts in Costa Rica:

Government explains alert criteria

The Costa Rican government detailed how it determines which cantons are placed under the more restrictive Orange Alert.

According to Casa Presidencial, the decision is made by representatives from the Health Ministry, the Costa Rica Social Security System, the National Emergency Commission, the Mixed Institute for Social Aid, and the Planning Ministry.

The parameters evaluated include the following:

  1. The proportion of people with COVID-19 in context of the canton’s population.
  2. The estimated ‘R’ value of the coronavirus in the canton. In other words, to how many people will a single infected person spread the virus, on average?
  3. Traceability of contagion in the canton.
  4. Available hospital infrastructure, including medical equipment and personnel.

Costa Rica also employs an early alert system in which it anticipates outbreaks in areas where more people than usual are visiting medical centers with respiratory symptoms.

Watch the video (in Spanish) below:

The current Orange Alert restrictions are valid through the end of July. Measures for the first weeks of August will be announced later this week, according to the Health Ministry.

Protests continue against austerity policies

Throughout Monday, hundreds of people participated in a caravan protest in San José.

People take part in a protest in rejection of austerity policies promoted by the government to contain public spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic in San Jose, on July 27, 2020.
People take part in a protest in rejection of austerity policies promoted by the government to contain public spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic in San Jose, on July 27, 2020. (Photo by Ezequiel BECERRA / AFP)

Mayors and unionists have asked the government to reconsider a proposed budget reduction equivalent to 1% of GDP.

The Finance Minister, meanwhile, has warned that Costa Rica must take significant measures to compensate for the fall in tax revenue associated with the pandemic.

San Juan de Dios Hospital installs temporary morgue

San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José is preparing to use refrigerated containers for patients who die of COVID-19, according to a report in La Nación.

Doing so will allow the hospital to protect its staff while maintaining “respect for the identity, image and privacy” of the dead.

While Costa Rica is experiencing record highs in coronavirus hospitalizations, the country’s public-health system is not saturated. However, the increase in COVID-19 patients presents logistical issues and has impacted other hospital services.

As of Monday, Costa Rica has announced 115 deaths related with the novel coronavirus.

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