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News briefs: Costa Rica increases ICU capacity, changes COVID alerts

August 20, 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 today.

Two cantons leave Orange Alert

Two cantons improved from Orange to Yellow Alerts this week, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) announced Wednesday.

Montes de Oca (San José province) and Parrita (Puntarenas) are now under the less-restrictive alert level. The change took effect starting Thursday, August 20.

CNE this week did not place any new cantons under an Orange Alert.

List of Costa Rica Orange Alert cantons on August 20, 2020
List of Costa Rica Orange Alert cantons on August 20, 2020. via CNE.

Click here for a breakdown of what’s open (and what’s not) in Yellow and Orange Alert areas this week.

Click here for an interactive map of Orange/Yellow Alert cantons in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica again expands ICU capacity

Costa Rica again expanded its intensive-care capacity at public hospitals, announced Mario Ruíz, the medical manager for the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS).

The changes will allocate 1,058 total intermediate-care beds and 287 intensive-care beds for COVID-19 patients at public hospitals across Costa Rica.

Hospital capacity “has been an ongoing worry” throughout the pandemic, Ruíz said, and in March Costa Rica had just 24 ICU beds designated for coronavirus patients.

Since then, the CCSS has created a coronavirus-specific hospital (CEACO), opened a new tower at Calderón Guardia Hospital, and is now converting space at the National Psychiatric Hospital.

Wednesday, 126 patients with COVID-19 were in the ICU, representing 44% of Costa Rica’s maximum capacity at public hospitals. Two-hundred eighty-six people occupy intermediate-care beds, representing 27% of maximum capacity.

Costa Rica coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths on August 19, 2020
Costa Rica coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths on August 19, 2020. Tico Times graph.

For context, Costa Rica recorded 23 deaths attributed to respiratory viruses in all of 2018, according to Health Ministry data.

 

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