RICO’s COVID-19 DIGEST – It’s been days since the last report and frankly not much has been going covid-wise. And that is a good thing.
This past week we have seen a drop in daily cases, a drop in the contagion rate, fewer people in hospitals, including the ICU and fewer deaths.
Experts have been able to explain why, the best they can come up with is the effect of the “cuesta de Enero” (January slope), a month where money is tight after the holiday spending, the Marchamo and getting the kids for school.
This means fewer people out and about, in malls, in restaurants, etc. Not good for business, but any seasoned business knows well what January brings.
The vehicular restrictions
For the month of February, the vehicle restrictions are the pretty same as January, save for weekends, when we can drive until 10 pm instead of 9 pm.
To recap, there is a total vehicle restriction every day (Monday to Sunday) from 10 pm to 5 am. Only vehicles exempt, such as emergency vehicles, tourism vehicles and rental cars, among others.
For those who have a reservation at a hotel, they can drive to and from with proof of the reservation or payment.
For those that need to drive to and from work during the restricted hours, an employee letter is required. A new letter for the month of February is required, your January letter will not be valid. See a draft letter here.
Other exemptions are driving to and from a medical center (proof of appointment), to an emergency room at a hospital or clinic or any other “emergency” situation. Also, with proof of reservation or airline ticket, you can drive to and from the airport to drop off or pick up, as well as drive to and from a Riteve appointment. Here are all the exemptions.
As to the days that you can drive, daytime restrictions are based on the last digit of the license plate:
- Mondays, vehicles with plates ending in 1 & 2 cannot circulate
- Tuesdays, vehicles with plates ending in 3 & 4 cannot circulate
- Wednesdays, vehicles with plates ending in 5 & 6 cannot circulate
- Thursdays, vehicles with plates ending in 7 & 8 cannot circulate
- Fridays, vehicles with plates ending in 9 & 0 cannot circulate
- Saturdays, vehicles with plates ending in 1,3,5,7 & 9 cannot circulate
- Sundays, vehicles with plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6 & 8 cannot circulate
The fine for violation is around ¢110.000 colones. No longer are points in play, nor are license plates and/or vehicles being confiscated for violation of the vehicle restrictions. Not having the Marchamo, Riteve and other infractions can be subject to seizures of plates and/or vehicles.
The numbers for the week
As I said before, we’ve had a pretty good week covid-wise. The number of new infections has dropped, recoveries is up and hospitalizations are down. Unfortunately, there are still too many fatalities.
- Saturday, January 23, there were 651 new cases.
- Sunday, January 24, there were 431 new cases.
- Monday, January 25, there were 355 new cases.
- Tuesday, January 26, there were 600 new cases.
- Wednesday, January 27, there were 721 new cases.
- Thursday, January 28, there were 571 new cases.
- Friday, January 29, there were 639 new cases.
The total for the 7 days were 3,968 new cases for an accumulated total of 193,276 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The average for the week was 566 cases daily, compared to double that for the last few months.
For the week there were a total of 86 deaths, for an accumulated total of 2,604.
The number of recovered cases rose to 151,892 or 78.6% of the total cases; 38,720 people are active.
The number of people in hospital on Friday was 429, of which 180 are in the ICU. This is a big drop from the high of 628 on December 29. The highest number of hospitalized was 658, on December 21.
The vaccination program began on December 24, the day after the first batch of vaccines from Pfifer/Biontech were received. In total, Costa Rica received some 104,532 doses up to January 19, the last delivery from the pharmaceutical before announcing that it would suspend deliveries for three weeks due to improvements in production in the European facility.
Deliveries are expected to resume on February 15, the pharma assuring the government we would receive the promised 200,000 doses for February and 300,000 in March.
This allows the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) to continue the vaccination program, to which it announced that by mid-February it would start vaccinations of group 2, those 58 years of age and over without underlying risk factors, which will represent 80% of the vaccines for February and first responders (20%).
Sources: CCSS, Ministerio de Salud, Casa Presidencial