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Study confirms cause of death for Costa Rica coronavirus patients

January 29, 2021

Since July, the Health Ministry has worked alongside the country’s Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and the National Statistics Institute (INEC) to analyze Costa Rica’s COVID-19-related deaths.

The team of forensic and medical experts is determining how many of Costa Rica’s coronavirus-related deaths were actually caused by COVID-19 or an associated complication.

Of the 464 deaths analyzed so far, more than 90% have been confirmed to have resulted from the SARS-CoV-2 virus or a related complication.

“The virus provoked their death,” Health Minister Daniel Salas explained last year of people who fell under this designation.

Forty-five of the 464 deaths resulted from causes not related to COVID-19 “and coincidentally, the virus was present when they died.”

The latest figures from the Health Ministry are as follows:

  • 418 died of COVID-19 (90.29%): 253 men and 165 women.
  • 45 had a recent history of COVID-19, but it did not contribute to their death.
  • 1 case was indeterminate.
  • 4 are still pending further evaluation.

“This maintains the percentages that the commission has presented previously, where 90% of the deaths related to COVID-19 actually died from the disease, while the remaining 10% were deaths with COVID-19,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Costa Rica has reported 2,584 deaths related to COVID-19 as of Thursday.

This case-by-case analysis mirrors the examination Costa Rica conducted during and after the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. It will continue over the coming months.

Hypertension remains a leading risk factor

Hypertension remains a leading comorbidity in patients who died of COVID-19 in Costa Rica.

Of the 418 deaths from COVID-19:

  • 67% had high blood pressure.
  • 50% had a history of smoking.
  • 40.9% had diabetes mellitus.
  • 31.3% had obesity.
  • 22.5% had some heart disease.
  • 17% had chronic kidney disease.

Age is also a risk factor; Costa Rica’s 2,584 coronavirus-related deaths comprise 804 adults, 1,776 elderly adults and four children, with a total average age of 71.

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. 

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