Costa Rica suffered 49 coronavirus-related deaths between Wednesday and Friday for a total of 1,895, according to official data released Friday afternoon by the Health Ministry.
Six-hundred people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. The 232 patients in the ICU represents 65% of Costa Rica’s total capacity.
The Health Ministry has confirmed 150,947 total cases, including 1,258 on Wednesday, 1,127 on Thursday and 1,132 on Friday. At least 112,622 people have been cleared as recovered, though this number lags behind the actual figure.
The data indicate Costa Rica has 37.2 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people. COVID-19 will be Costa Rica’s leading cause of death in 2020.
Authorities detail vaccine efforts
Costa Rica hopes to begin a vaccination campaign in the first quarter of 2021. The country expects to receive enough doses for 3 million people by the end of next year.
The country will prioritize vaccinating high-risk populations and certain essential workers, including healthcare staff. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
“In Costa Rica, we have a culture of vaccination,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas. “Vaccines protect us. Vaccines prevent us from getting sick.”
If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a vaccine, Costa Rica will in turn authorize it for emergency use, Salas said, though the country will conduct local quality checks.
In Costa Rica, vaccinating children is “an obligation” for parents, according to the Child Welfare Office (PANI). While there is no similar legal requirement for adults, Salas emphasized the shared responsibility between Costa Ricans to reduce the spread of the virus.
Costa Rica’s outbreak in context
Costa Rica has the 46th-most new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, according to data compiled by The New York Times. At 20.9 new cases per 100,000 people, this significantly trails the United States (63.6) but is higher than Canada (17.7).
New case totals correlate with testing capacity; Costa Rica’s high test-positivity rate suggests it’s catching fewer minor or asymptomatic cases.
About 1.2% of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in Costa Rica have died. The average age of Costa Rica’s coronavirus-related deaths is 70 years.
COVID-19 will be Costa Rica’s leading cause of death in 2020, surpassing acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), which killed 1,322 people last year.
An analysis more than 200 COVID-19-related deaths in Costa Rica, released in October, 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 up to 359 intensive-care beds and 986 beds for less-complex coronavirus hospitalizations.
The below graphic will update automatically as the Health Ministry releases new coronavirus data. Remember, coronavirus updates now happen twice a week, but this graph updates daily:
If you believe you have COVID-19, contact Costa Rica’s hotline at 1322. English-speaking staff and mental health professionals are available. Visit the Costa Rican Presidency for the official list of coronavirus measures and alerts.