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‘Worst nightmare’: Costa Rica ICUs saturated with Covid patients

May 9, 2021

Costa Rica’s public-hospital system says it can no longer offer all critical patients the attention they require due to a saturation of resources by Covid-19 cases.

Saturday evening, the Social Security System (Caja) said it has “exceeded the optimal institutional capacity” of intensive-care occupancy with 435 patients with Covid-19 requiring an ICU bed.

“This is like waking up to our worst nightmare,” said Mario Ruiz, medical manager of the Caja.

“Medical centers continue to receive patients who require hospital care and they can no longer be given optimal care for their serious condition because they cannot be assigned the right bed.”

The Caja says its maximum optimal ICU capacity for Covid-19 is 359 patients. Beyond that, the Caja is using temporary beds or converting spaces that would otherwise be reserved for individuals with other pathologies.

Despite this, on Saturday afternoon at least 12 patients who were severely or critically sick with Covid-19 had to wait hours to be admitted.

“It is never a good time to get sick, but right now is the worst,” said Román Macaya, Caja president.

As of Friday’s update, the latest available, there were 1,175 people hospitalized with Covid-19 across Costa Rica.

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