QCOSTARICA – The downward trend of new cases continues. With that the number of people in hospital, numbers not seen since July last year.
This Friday, February 19, the Ministry of Health reported 289 people occupied a hospital bed due to complications from covid-19.
The last time we saw the number of hospitalizations that low was on July 22 when the number of hospitalized was 285 and steadily grew, peaking at 658 on December 21, declining from there, below 500 for the first time on January 23.
However, we will have to hold off the celebrations given that more than half, 155 or 53%, of covid patients currently in hospital are in the ICU. These are critically ill patients ranging in ages from 15 to 96.
Shortly before the announcement of the numbers on Friday, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) announced that it was reducing the number of covid beds in its system due to the drop in hospitalizations.
Caja management said the beds that had been used exclusively of covid-19 patients were now being used once again for patients with other pathologies and surgeries that were postponed due to the pandemic.
“We must take this very cautiously. In the last three weeks, the beds for mild patients have been reduced, but not so those for intensive care,” said Mario Ruiz Cubillo, the institution’s medical manager.
“We are going to take advantage of it to treat other pathologies, with the understanding that cases may increase again and thus again we will increase the covid beds. It is not yet known why the decrease in cases occurs and they may rise again,” he added.
According to Yerly Alvarado Padilla, advisor to the Medical Management, the reduction began in places where the number of beds allows it, such as the San Juan de Dios Hospital, the Alajuela Hospital, Enrique Baltodano from Liberia, Tony Facio from Limón and the San Carlos Hospital.
“This is a process that began three weeks ago gradually and according to the occupation it was allowing it, in order to recover hospital capacity for non-covid care,” said Alvarado.
In addition, the Ceaco (Specialized Center for Covid-19 Care), will gradually return to its original use, the Cenare, while comprehensive care of covid-19 patients will continue at the Calderón Guardia Hospital.
However, the CCSS stressed in a statement, “the approach to emergencies remains the same. If a person is in hospital conditions and has covid-19, they will be treated at the closest hospital to them and from there referred.”
By the numbers
On Friday, the Deputy Minister of Health, Roberto González reported 437 new cases for Friday, bringing the accumulated confirmed cases to 201,678, of which 169,053 people have recovered, and 29,682 people continue infected.
On Friday, 7 deaths associated with Covid-19 were reported, for a total of 2,763 deaths, of which 1,728 men and 1,035 women, ranging in age from 2 to 101 years of age.
Time to be cautious
The drop in infections, hospitalizations, deaths and contagion rate have led the authorities to relax measures such as vehicle restriction and meeting capacity, although always with the warning to maintain key measures such as the use of masks, hand washing and cleaning. distance between people.
Another recommendation is to avoid places with poor ventilation.
It is expected that more measures will be relaxed for the month of March, with the proviso that the numbers continue to drop or remain stable.
However, this is also the time, I believe, to be more cautious and continue our own respect for the measures, such as the use a mask, washing hands and maintaining social distancing, while others may relax theirs, maybe concluding that the worst of the pandemic is over.