Sunday 1 October 2023

Health investigates how a 54-year-old doctor contracted covid-19 and infected at least five of the nine confirmed patients

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There is not enough information, or so far it has been made public, about the way in which a specialist doctor at the San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital contracted the coronavirus covid-19 and infected at least five of the nine confirmed so far.

The doctor, one of the 9 confirmed cases of covid-19, is in the intensive care at San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital in Alajuela, where he also works.

The case was defined on Monday by the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, as atypical; Therefore, it is still under investigation.

The only thing that is known, officially, is that this 54-year-old man went to receive a 73-year-old aunt at the Tocumen airport in Panama City, and three days later he presented symptoms.

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The trip and the symptoms would have occurred over the past week, between Monday, March 2 and Thursday, March 5.

His condition as a diabetic would have complicated his general condition, which merited his admission to the Intensive Care Unit of the public hospital. This Monday, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) reported the man has shown some improvements but maintains in intensive care.

The aunt, Salas said, came from Cuba and although she is also one of the nine confirmed cases of covid-19, she has not developed the usual symptoms: fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have pains, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, sore throat or diarrhea.

These symptoms are usually mild and appear gradually, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The people that the Ministry of Health identifies as contacts of this doctor are the following:

  1. A 73-year-old woman, Costa Rican, an aunt of the doctor.
  2. A 41-year-old woman, Costa Rican, caregiver for the 73-year-old woman.
  3. A 54-year-old woman, Costa Rican.
  4. A 56-year-old woman, Costa Rican.
  5. A 34-year-old man, Costa Rican.

Until late Monday night, March 9, the Ministry of Health recorded nine confirmed cases in Costa Rica by covid-19 and 22 suspicious cases awaiting laboratory results. Another 35 suspected cases were ruled out. They are people who live in the provinces of San José, Heredia, Guanacaste and Alajuela.

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The information was confirmed by Mario Ruiz Cubillo, medical manager of the Ministry of Health. The samples were sent to the Centro Nacional de Referencia en Virología. (National Reference Center in Virology).

The 75 people who underwent the analysis had some type of contact with the doctor at the San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital, that is temporarily closed its outpatient care; Patients with a medical appointment and scheduled operations between March 9 and 11, inclusive, will have to reschedule.

Since December, the Alajuela hospital has been the subject of an accompaniment process by a team from the Caja’s Medical Management after serious problems were detected in the management of medical services.

The Alajuela hospital employes some 1,600 people. It serves a population of about 700,000 in the province of Alajuela.

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