Costa Rica announced four new coronavirus-related deaths over the past day for a total of 154, according to official data released Saturday afternoon by the Health Ministry.
Three-hundred and forty-six people are hospitalized with COVID-19 with 94 in intensive care.
The Health Ministry has confirmed 18,187 cumulative known coronavirus cases. This represents 367 new cases compared to Friday.
The 19 new intensive-care patients over the last 24 hours would “in normal times” exceed the ICU capacity of a public hospital, according to Román Macaya, president of the Costa Rica Social Security System.
“There is a delay between an increase in cases and an increase in hospitalizations,” Macaya said. While the public health system is “being stressed,” it is not yet saturated.
“We cannot have another month like July,” Macaya said, referencing a month in which Costa Rica averaged 463 new daily cases and experienced 134 deaths. (For context, Costa Rica recorded 23 deaths attributed to respiratory viruses in all of 2018, according to Health Ministry data.)
Saturday, 127 more people were classified by health authorities as recovered.
Costa Rica has 13,502 known active cases and 4,531 recoveries.
The data indicate Costa Rica has 3.01 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people.
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.
Starting July 25, Costa Rica considers some patients as confirmed cases without requiring a positive test. This only applies if a person living with someone who has tested positive begins exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
The Health Ministry’s definitions also qualify certain patients as recovered based on time rather than a negative test.
The Greater Metropolitan Area is the country’s current epicenter. Much of Costa Rica is under an Orange Alert; click here for details regarding current business and driving restrictions. Click here for details regarding business and driving restrictions for August.
Costa Rica has processed 88,861 tests as of Friday.
The below graphic will update automatically when the Health Ministry releases detailed information on the number of tests processed and the location of new cases later this afternoon.
If you believe you have COVID-19, contact Costa Rica’s hotline at 1322. English-speaking staff and mental health professionals are available.