(QCOSTARICA) In just six days in July, seven deaths were reported in Costa Rica, associated with COVID-19, the week prior there were 4, for a total of 11 in nine days, bringing the deaths to 23 since the start of the health emergency in March.
Although the percentage in relation to the number of infections – Mortality Risk of COVID-19 – is still very low (0.4%), authorities are concerned, especially because they have accelerated.
The last four deaths were confirmed between Sunday night and 1:30 pm this Monday. It was Minister Salas himself, who, at the daily press conference, in his epidemiological report announced death number 23: a 92-year-old woman, hospitalized in the Calderón Guardia since July 4, and who had risk factors.
“We do not have to get used to counting the figures as a number only, but what I indicated, behind each death, of each person admitted to the ICU, there are many families who are waiting and who have suffered. This is a loss for the whole country,” said Daniel Salas.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported 245 new cases of the disease, a number lower than the almost four hundred Saturday (310) and Sunday (375) and an accumulated total of 5,241, double that of two weeks ago.
Thanks to infections, the number of hospitalizations has also increased, reaching 88 on Monday. So far, patients requiring intensive care have not grown, remaining stable during the past couple of weeks, on Monday dropping to nine following the latest death.
Román Macaya, executive president of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), announced that at this rate, the Specialized Center for Care of Covid-19 (Ceaco), in La Uruca, will be at its maximum capacity this week.
But just as these figures do not stop, neither do the ‘fiestas’ (parties) and conglomerations in the country’s neighborhoods.
Between Friday and Sunday, the 9-1-1 emergency system received 1,300 alerts for activities across the country, as confirmed by the Minister of Public Security, Michael Soto.
“One would believe that with the numbers that the minister (of Health) has just indicated there is greater awareness, but this is not the case; we continue having ends moved with the unconsciousness of some citizens,” lashed out Soto.
In Purral de Goicoechea, for example, the police arrived after the report of a party; On site, the organizer received them, drunk and with a machete in hand.
“He had to be disarmed and arrested. We reached that level when what we want is to serve the population,” added the security minister.
Such is the situation, that according to Soto, they develop procedures with the Judicial Power so that, when necessary, a judge issues search warrants that allow them to stop the activity.
However, he says, things should not get to that situation, because what is at stake is the safety of families.
Minister Salas, for his part, recalled the possibility of establishing fines in those cases in which there is a breach of sanitary orders.
Faced with these circumstances, he said, the fine is made without considering whether or not the person can pay it, responding to a question by press.
“We do not want to fine anyone, but a fine is to tell them ‘don’t do it again’ and that those around you see that it is something that can happen, see the number of people who are hospitalized, who are dying,” said.
“If we all start to party, I assure you that the health services will collapse and collapse big time,” he said.
For this Monday, the cantons with the highest number of active cases, that is, with contagion capacity are San José with 743; Desamparados, 264; and Alajuela, 221, followed by Alajuelita with 217, and Heredia with 192, the most populated areas of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM).
Outside the GAM, San Carlos, in the northern zone, continues with the highest number of active cases, with 103.
On Monday, in Alajulita, the CCSS under the direction of the Ministry of Health began a massive testing campaign was started looking for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections.
Of the 23 deaths reported to Monday, 10 are women and 13 are men, with ages ranging from 26 to 92 years.
According to Salas, the combination of hypertension and diabetes occurred in eight of the victims, while another six suffered only from hypertension. This checks the weight of the risk factors.
“This risk factor always calls us to remember that all of us who have these factors or who have family members with those factors, we have to be very cautious, very disciplined to protect that population. The idea is that they do not out in public places,” he said.
He also called on the employers of this group to change their jobs if they must attend the public, at least temporarily.
“That the protocols are very rigorous in the workplace and in different activities. They shouldn’t be out and about,” he said.
Of the fatalities, the largest group, with 13 people, is between 65 and 92 years, that is, seniors, who are the population at the highest risk.
One of the fatalities is that of a young man, who arrived at the hospital in shock and no identification. The young man was living in a downtown San Jose rooming house, which is now, as several other rooming houses, under quarantine and guarded by the San Jose Municipal police.
By nationality, there are 18 Costa Ricans, four foreigners, and the case of the young man under investigation.
Salas recalled that a commission is already in the process of being formed to analyze the deaths, since not all of them were due to complications due to the virus. The intent of that group is to determine whether these people died from COVID-19 or due to that disease.
The country no longer has the advantage
Although he tried to continue the sports analogy that weeks ago the director of Health Surveillance, Rodrigo Marín, used when he said that the country was winning 1 to 0, beating COVID; Minister Salas was doubtful.
First, he said he didn’t dare give a marker, that it was difficult. In the end, however, he recognized what is clear, there no longer is the advantage.
“I would say that it is difficult to say the scoreboard, it is not a game, it is something from real life, it is not a simulation, we are not doing an exercise to see how we are doing,” he reflected.
Salas considers that the majority of the population abides by the health measures, the problem is that there is always a percentage that does not.
“Why do people ignore and throw parties? In the end, we only live once, you only have one life, it is a difficult year, different.
“If there is no proper behavior, many of them will depart, it is a life decision, not a game. Of course, one can compare it to a game: we are not with the advantage we were with a time ago,” he acknowledged.