(QCOSTARICA) Following a record number of 768 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with nine deaths in 24 hours and 290 hospitalized patients, on Friday 540 new cases were reported, for a cumulative of 13,669.
Seven more deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours. Two less than Thursday.
To date, the country registers 87 deaths linked to the new coronavirus.
On Friday, 298 patients were reported in hospitals, of whom 49 are in the Intensive Care Unit.
The slight respite, however, is not evident in medical centers as explained by the medical manager of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), Mario Ruiz, who confirmed that the number of COVID-19 patients and the requirements of the pandemic are close to saturating health services.
It is not only about beds, but the medical staff who show fatigue or have also been victims of the virus.
The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, announced Friday a change in diagnostic guidelines qualifying positive cases.
“People who live with patients infected with the new coronavirus and who have symptoms such as a sore throat, respiratory distress, fever, loss of taste or loss of smell will be diagnosed as positive cases of Covid-19 without the need for testing,” said Salas.
The Minister pointed out that the diagnostic guidelines were modified and that the declaration of infection will not be formal, but will be “for practical purposes”. Along these lines, he commented that people should respect isolation orders, as is already the case with close contact groups.
The change does not mean we will have an explosion in the number of daily confirmed cases.
“There have to be symptoms, it is not that anyone in the nucleus is already considered a case, although isolation is considered for the entire group, which should be in a quarantine of 14 days,” he stressed.
Salas noted that this step was “expected” at some point in the pandemic, since resources must be maximized and forms of care must be refined. “They are cases in which it is extremely high that it is SARS-CoV-2, they are part of the measures that must be taken in any pandemic,” he concluded.
The measure will also allow a more efficient use of diagnostic PCR tests, since the country already analyzes up to 2,000 applications per day and their needs are increasing.
This was explained by the institutional adviser of Laboratories of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), Angie Cervantes, who commented that this is the same number that could be processed in a whole week in previous months.
“This means a 700% increase in demand for clinical laboratories, which have been working tirelessly 24 hours a day, both to respond to suspicious cases and to the screenings that are being carried out,” she explained.
Cervantes commented that the laboratories have accumulated samples in the last weeks; specifically, she spoke of 4,523 to be processed, of which 2,985 are the result of screening asymptomatic patients and the rest of suspected cases.
The official pointed out that, given this situation, she has coordinated to attend to the most urgent cases among suspects first.