QCOSTARICA – “We are going to exceed 2,000 deaths from covid-19 in 2020 in Costa Rica. It is a quite high and alarming figure, and a reality in many homes,” were the words of the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, on Friday to the projections on the impact of the new coronavirus in Costa Rica.
In the last three days, the country added 122 more deaths associated to Covid-19 in the past 7 days, for a total of 1,895 people who died since March.
“It is a figure much higher than the deaths caused by heart attacks (1,500 on average),” said Salas during the presentation of the second epidemiological report of the week of the pandemic.
“We have that opportunity to be heroes for our family. Let’s move this pandemic forward. This is a very difficult time where we cannot waver.
“Young people, who think that this (virus) is not with us, infect uncles, grandparents and parents when we do not behave properly,” warned the minister.
Costa Rica surpassed 150,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 this Friday, adding a total of 3,517 more affected between Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
On Friday, Costa Rica confirmed 150,947 cases since March 6, when the first two infected, two American tourists, with the new coronavirus emerged.
In addition, the number of hospitalized reached 600 people, of which 232 are in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU); their ages ranging from 0 to 92 years.
Salas stressed that the number of those in critical condition continues to rise.
“There has been no truce,” said the minister.
On the other hand, Dr. Salas updated the status of the process for the acquisition of the first vaccines against covid-19.
“There is already a glimpse of hope of being able to get ahead not by directly exposing people to the virus, but through more important tools for public health: vaccines.
“Costa Rica has made a great effort to move forward in the negotiations and have the vaccine on time,” Salas emphasized.
The minister recalled that, given the limited global availability of doses, it will not be possible to vaccinate all those who need it in a few months, clarifying that it will take all of 2021 to vaccinate everyone.
In a video presentation at the press conference, President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, joined the message with a call to the population not to lower their guard in the coming weeks.
“Months ago, we made the decision to sign three agreements for the provision of vaccines. The objective is to protect the population of Costa Rica and start the vaccination process in the quickest and safest way so that, hopefully, in a few months we will have overcome the pandemic.
“We cannot lower our guard. Even on the holidays we must take care of ourselves and our loved ones. It is the best way to celebrate this time with the family,” said the president.
Selection of risk groups
The Vice Minister of Health, Pedro González, ensures success in the acquisition and preparation process for the vaccination campaign.
The logistics are in charge of the National Commission of Vaccination and Epidemiology, the Ministry of Health, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS).
“High quality, effective, safe vaccines are being purchased, approved by agencies such as the United States Food and Drug Control Agency (FDA),” he said.
González confirmed that the country is guaranteed six million doses to vaccinate three million high-risk people.
So far, the Government has signed three agreements for the purchase of vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech (three million doses), AstraZeneca-Oxford (one million doses) and the COVAX initiative of the World Health Organization (two million dose).
The vaccines will begin to arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2021, but the exact date is not yet known, nor is there any certainty as to when the entire vaccination plan will be ready or who will be the first to receive the dose.
“The vaccination commission works on the groups to be vaccinated, according to their risk. The population must be calm about the quality of the product and the process,” added the vice minister.
These groups will be defined according to their level of risk of contagion and potential for complication in the event they contract the disease.
Leandra Abarca, coordinator of the Expanded Immunization Program of the CCSS, confirmed that once the prioritization of risk groups is known, the first level of care will raise the lists of these people.
“The support of the population at local levels will be essential to meet the objectives and goals proposed for 2021 to apply the vaccine to the population at risk,” said Abarca.
As to the numbers as at Friday, December 11:
- Total confirmed cases, 150,947: 77,272 men and 76,662 women, of which 130,270 are nationals and 20,677 foreigners, ranging in age from 0 to 101 years.
- New cases for Friday: 1,132
- Recovered cases: 112,622 (74.6%)
- Active cases: 36,340 (24.1%)
- 13 deaths were reported for an accumulated total of 1,895: 1,181 men and 714 women
- Number of people hospitalized: 600 (a drop of 7 from the previous day)
- Number of people in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU): 232 (down 6 from the previous day)