QCOSTARICA – During a last-minute press conference from Casa Presidencial, the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, did not rule out increased measures to stem the spike in new cases the last two weeks.
Asked directly if there would be any measures adopted in the near future, Salas said “we all know what they are by now, vehicle restrictions on weeks, closing of some activities and lower capacity”.
The Minister added the need to keep re-building up the economy and made the latest call to lower the curve to avoid more drastic closures.
Mario Ruiz, medical manager of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) warned of the rise in hospitalizations and the circulation of new variants of the coronavirus that could be among the causes that explain that the Caja hospitals doubled the number of patients in the last two weeks, in addition to the high mobility during Semana Santa.
According to Ruis, this Monday, April 12, 435 people were in hospital, of which 208 in Intensive Care.
Health authorities also attribute this new rise to the relaxation of measures by many people, who have forgotten the correct use of the mask, respect for the recommended physical distance and the recommended gauges to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We have identified a rapid increase in cases. In the current behavior of cases, we have varied from 211 hospitalized patients on March 29, and today 435 hospitalized, of which 208 are in Intensive Care.
“The contagion rate for April 9 is 1.41. This level reached is the same as in July 2020. This is how serious the situation is,” emphasized Dr. Ruiz.
The concern echoed by both Ruiz and Salas, as was for the first many months of the pandemic last year, the saturation of hospital services and having to deny non-covid patients a bed.
“The contagion rate for April 9 was 1.41. This level reached is the same as in July 2020. This is how serious the situation is,” emphasized Ruiz Cubillo.
It could be that we reach such a critical situation that higher-risk activities have to be shut down. We have already gone through all the nuances. What we are doing is calling for us to avoid reaching that point Daniel Salas, Minister of Health
According to data from the Caja, public hospitals have 956 ward beds and 359 in Intensive Care Units (ICU).
“The staff is overloaded and tired. We are going to continue on but this (the spread of the virus) is not resolved in hospitals, it is resolved in each of our communities, workplaces and families, where we have to keep our distance, avoid parties, crowds, and maintain capacity,” reiterated Ruiz.
“This will be reflected in the coming days in the increase in patients who are going to die every day because on entering the ICU, the prognosis is bleak,” concluded the medical manager.
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In recent weeks, the CCSS had to retrace its steps.
After starting a de-escalation of beds due to the reduction in the number of patients registered in the first months of the year, several of its hospitals have had to reactivate beds for patients with coronavirus these days.
Alexander Solís, president of the National Emergency Commission (CNE), recalled that it took the country five weeks to go from 3,000 to 5,000 cases weekly last August.
“This year, it is taking us just three weeks; two practically to go from 3,312 to 4,979 (weekly cases). That is really worrying and we are not reflecting the higher percentage of cases that were infected during Semana Santa’s high mobility.
“We could not make closure decisions (for Semana Santa) because the economy needs to breathe, we need to work and that is the position we are maintaining, but we depend on reinforcing the measures in our homes,” said Solís.
Violations of these measures have been detected in more bars, said Solís.
“(In bars) there is a tendency to bring tables together, resulting in larger groups and that pressures the owner of the place to give in. The call is to continue supporting this effort,” said Solís.
“It could be that we reach such a critical situation that higher-risk activities have to be shut down. We have already gone through all the nuances. What we are doing is calling for us to avoid reaching that point.