Thursday 19 May 2022

Covid-19 Costa Rica: 75 new cases this Wednesday, hospitalizations remains low

Big house party in resulted in 17 infections so far; and 29 in one packing plant alone in Los Chiles

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(QCOSTARICA) The number of new cases of COVID-19 has maintained a trend of over 50 daily, as Health authorities deal with the second wave of the pandemic. Gone are the days when 10 new cases in a 24 hour period was a concern.

In Los Chiles, Security Minister Micheal Soto is hands-on in the work of the multi-institutional task force, with him in the photo is Priscila Herrera, local director of Health.

This Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Salas confirmed 75 new cases, of which 29 are related to an outbreak in an agriculture packing plant in Los Chiles, northern zone and a big house party in Alajuelita, that has so far resulted in the infection of 17 of the 50 people attending.

Minister Salas took the first few minutes of the daily report to address these two issues and remind the populace that if we need to work together to get through this, in the case of industry, calling on business owners to apply good sanitary measures in their workplaces and the general public, now is not the time for big groupings in confined spaces.

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For now, the Ministry of Health continues with the capacity to trace the cases of infections, but the fear is quickly moving to community contagion.

The accumulated infections since the first case on March 6 is now 1,871. They are 1,033 men and 838 women, of which 1,385 are Costa Rican and 486 foreigners. The Ministry of Health as never disclosed the nationalities of the foreigners.

To date, 899 have recovered, 22 people are in hospitals (of whom 2 are in the ICU) and number of deaths remains at 12 (9 men and 3 women).

The number of active cases is now 960.

In Los Chiles

Many of the new cases, 21, reported Wednesday are attributed to one plant, the World Export Pineapples plant known as Exportaciones Norteñas, in Santa Fe de Los Chiles, where authorities intervened and closed the facilities for 30 days.

Another eight were attributed to a 3,000-hectare plantation that borders the Nicaraguan town of La Ñoca.

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Los Chiles thus has now 37 active cases.

Workers of a pineapple plantation in Los Chiles underwent a medical review after detecting cases of COVID-19. There are about 1,000 employees here and it is a 3,000-hectare farm. Photo by Édgar Chinchilla

Salas added that thanks to a multi-institutional task force eight other agricultural companies were detected without operating permits, which were closed because they do not operate legally.

The action, said the minister, is part of the operation carried out in that area in conjunction with the Public Force, the Ministry of Labor, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) and the municipalities.

Inspections in the northern zone

Michael Soto, Minister of Public Security, reported that an operation began in Monday in San Carlos, Upala, Los Chiles, Sarapiquí, and Pococí, to review the problems associated with agricultural activity.

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According to Soto, a command post was established in Los Chiles, in conjunction with the CCSS, the National Emergency Commission (CNE, Immigration, and the Ministries of Agriculture and Health.

The objective, he said, is to inspect the packing companies and plantations, given the clusters of the disease, caused by the new coronavirus.

Health officials, CCSS and other entities carried out operations in Piñera de Los Chiles. Photo supplied by Edgar Chinchilla

The Minister explained that inspections were carried out on 49 companies, nine of which were ordered closed and seven others had labor breaches.

A total of 20 of the 466 foreigners interviewed were issued immigration orders for being or working in the country illegally; the rest of the interviewed (1,405) were Costa Ricans.

Reactivation from Saturday

Minister Salas said that tomorrow and Friday they will announce what activities will be reactivated according to the chronogram laid out last month and if there will be changes in the plan, although it would remain essentially the same.

However, he advanced that the next phase would start on Saturday and not until Monday.

“Tomorrow or Friday we will make the announcement. The date was moved to be Saturday, the measures of the things that are going to have the possibility of opening, are going to be announced starting tomorrow, but will take effect from Saturday,” he said.

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