Tuesday 31 January 2023

Coronavirus in Costa Rica: 34 new cases, total infected to June 5 is 1,228

Ministry of Health asks not to let the guard down with the opening of restaurants on the weekend; Caja working on Costa Rica's Manhattan project.

HealthCoronavirusCoronavirus in Costa Rica: 34 new cases, total infected to June 5...

Ministry of Health asks not to let the guard down with the opening of restaurants on the weekend; Caja working on Costa Rica's Manhattan project.

After days with significant increases in new cases of COVID-19, this trend was maintained this Friday, as 34 more new cases were registered.

The total number of infections in the last 91 days reached 1,228, with 695 recovered and 10 deaths.

For this Friday, of the total number of infections, there are 968 Costa Ricans and 260 foreigners.

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Currently, there are 22 people hospitalized, four of them in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with ages between 55 and 72.

Rodrigo Marín, director of Health Surveillance, of the Ministry of Health, was in charge of releasing the latest report of infections on Friday.

The director recalled that this weekend restaurants open at 50% of their capacity until 7:00 pm, as part of the gradual reactivation process.

For this reason, he asked “not to let your guard down” with the social distancing and hygiene measures, to avoid further spread.

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This Wednesday the highest number of infected in a single day was recorded since the first case on March 6: 52 new cases. On Thursday there were 37.

Nicaraguan migrants

A major concern for Costa Rica authorities is the arrival of migrants from Nicaragua, representing a major risk for the country due to community transmission in the neighbor to the north.

Marin explained that the Minister of Security, Micheal Soto (who was not at the press conference Friday) has been touring the northern border and reports that a helicopter will be added to the security measures to close the blind spots of illegal entry.

Added to that concern, explained said Marin, is a prevalence of many in Costa Rica having forgotten that there is a pandemic, neglecting prevention measures, mainly because of the reactivation of economic activities.

Faced with this decision to continue with this process, the director assured that in Costa Rica there is “constant monitoring and strict follow-up of each case,” including all risk areas.

Costa Rica’s Manhattan Project

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For his part, Román Macaya, president of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), provided a recount of the efforts of the health institution in supplying medical staff with the necessary tools for protection and treatment of patients with COVID-19.

Macaya confirmed that five COVID-19 patients have been treated with convalescent plasma, one of whom had been already discharged.

“The first woman is already at home, much healthier, we have a fifth patient who was treated with plasma yesterday and today is getting a second infusion,” he said.

Macaya recalled that this is one of the three strategies for developing therapies that are carried out in Costa Rica.

Apart from this of the plasma that is in hospitals, the Caja is working on the purification of antibodies from a large number of patients, to apply “a very standardized dose” to new patients.

There is also work to develop antibodies against the virus in horses.

“Yesterday (Thursday) we visited the Clodomiro Picado Institute with the president (Alvarado), a declaration of national interest was signed to carry out these treatments on Costa Rican soil with the advantage that if they work we will not be waiting for another country to export it,” said Macaya.

According to him, this Friday the third immunization of six horses is being carried out, a process that will be reviewed the following week to determine if additional immunizations should be made or if it is enough.

If so, those antibodies can be harvested, purified, and used.

“If so, we are just over a month away from having a product, this not only has a social and health impact in the sense that it would be a treatment that occurs here, but also an economic one. It is a product that will be sued worldwide, Costa Rica will be the first place where this treatment will be applied if it works,” he said.

“This is Costa Rica’s Manhattan project,” said Macaya, referring to the project that led to the development of nuclear weapons during World War II.

According to Macaya, this visit to the Picado Institute made was the day with “most optimism” generated in the three months of the pandemic.



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