Costa Rican authorities on Tuesday confirmed the presence of the Delta coronavirus variant within the national territory.
As part of its ongoing genomic vigilance, the Institute for Nutrition and Health Research (INCIENSA) identified that 16 people who tested positive for Covid-19 were carrying the more-contagious virus variant.
Because INCIENSA conducts genomic analysis on a small sample of positive cases, it’s likely Delta is widespread throughout Costa Rica, explained Health Minister Daniel Salas.
Of the 16 confirmed cases, seven have recovered and nine are still recovering. None of them required hospitalization, and none have died. Twelve are Costa Ricans, and four are foreigners. Three were vaccinated, though one was still within the 14 days after their shot.
“Vaccination continues to mean a significant reduction in the risk of being hospitalized, including with the Delta variant,” Salas said.
Costa Rica isn’t changing health measures or recommendations in the face of Delta, though Salas acknowledged that its high transmissibility may mean continued high case counts.
“Delta continues to be the same form of transmission, so we maintain the same recommendations,” he said.
Costa Rica to mix Pfizer, AstraZeneca doses
Individuals who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine may be given Pfizer as their second jab, Salas said Tuesday. This will only occur if Costa Rica runs out of AstraZeneca doses.
Currently, Costa Rica has enough AstraZeneca doses to last through the third week of August. The vast majority of the country’s supply is of the Pfizer formula.
Scientific studies suggest that mixing the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines induce high concentrations of antibodies.