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Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Tuesday, October 20

October 20, 2020

Costa Rica announced 18 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 1,222, according to official data released Tuesday afternoon by the Health Ministry.

Five-hundred and forty-two people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 215 are in intensive care.

The Health Ministry confirmed 847 new cases on Tuesday, of which 532 were identified via a lab test, for a cumulative total of 97,922.

A total of 60,109 people have been cleared as recovered; however, this figure does not include several weeks’ worth of patients, according to health authorities.

The data indicate Costa Rica has 24 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people. The country is averaging 15.7 deaths each day since September 1 (786 total).

Costa Rica’s outbreak in context

Costa Rica has the 20th-most new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

About 1.2% of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in Costa Rica have died. The deaths comprise 409 adults, 811 elderly adults, and two children.

The average age of Costa Rica’s coronavirus-related deaths is 70 years.

An analysis of 212 COVID-19-related deaths in Costa Rica, released last week, confirmed 90% of them were caused by the virus or an associated complication, while 9% had died of unrelated causes. This case-by-case analysis is ongoing.

Costa Rica has 359 intensive-care beds and 986 beds for less-complex coronavirus hospitalizations. This means 60% of Costa Rica’s ICU beds are currently occupied.


The below graph shows Costa Rica’s approximate test-positivity rate (the fraction of tests that come back positive) as of Tuesday, October 19. The Tico Times calculates daily positivity using Health Ministry data as follows:

(People testing positive) ÷ (People testing positive + people testing negative)

Note that the actual number of daily tests is higher than indicated on the chart, because one person can be tested multiple times.

The World Health Organization recommends testing enough to keep the positivity rate under 5%; Costa Rica’s high test-positivity rate suggests it’s missing milder or asymptomatic cases, allowing the coronavirus to continue to spread.

Costa Rica coronavirus test positivity rate through October 19, 2020
Costa Rica coronavirus test positivity rate through October 19, 2020. Tico Times graph.

The below graphic will update automatically as the Health Ministry releases new coronavirus data.

If you believe you have COVID-19, contact Costa Rica’s hotline at 1322. English-speaking staff and mental health professionals are available.

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