QCOSTARICA – This Friday, April 23, 2021, shortly after 6:00 pm, the Ministry of Health reported the second-highest number of covid-19 cases in a single day: 1,656. This number was surpassed with 1,776 the previous day.
This was also the day that more people are in intensive care since the pandemic began, with 286, including patients in private health facilities.
In addition, 11 deaths associated with the disease were reported.
The worrying situation does not come from a single day, rather the trend throughout the week.
From Saturday, April 17 to Friday, April 23, Costa Rica recorded 8,353 new cases, an average of 1,193 per day. This is almost 3 times the daily average only a few short weeks ago.
In addition, in the last seven days, the records for the maximum number of people in intensive care were broken three times.
As if that were not enough, between April 17 and 20, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) made 161 transfers of covid-19 patients from peripheral or regional medical centers to GAM hospitals, this is the second-highest since the beginning of the pandemic.
Thirteen of these transfers were of patients in critical condition.
Along the way, specialists run into a problem: the options for these people who urgently require an ICU are reduced due to the high occupancy throughout the country.
“Every minute counts for someone critically ill and with a true systemic condition that puts their life at risk,” said Jean Carlo Sanabria Salas, a specialist in Emergency Medicine and in charge of the Covid-19 Transfer Coordination Center.
One of the main concerns is related to the so-called critical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, where the most delicate people are and who require more specialized care. This Friday there were only nine such beds available.
A look back: One year ago, on April 23, 2020, the country had 5 new cases bringing the total to 686; no hospitalizations or deaths.
Health workers with chronic stress and fatigue
Health workers are facing this new pandemic wave with more than a year and three months of constant work fighting COVID-19.
This also affects their mental and emotional health.
“The health personnel feel fragile, due to the high exposure to contagion; disoriented, by the constant changes in work protocols, as attention adjusts to the advance of the pandemic; and overloaded, due to the days that often reach 90 hours worked a week,” said Alfonso Villalobos Pérez, from the CCSS National Coordination of Psychology.
Faced with this situation, health authorities ask the population for help to avoid as many infections as possible.
“The protection of the health system to give options to the sickest must be a goal of all. Each person can stop the contagion just by taking better care of themselves: we fight for the patients, but they must fight to stay healthy because the possibilities of care are reduced every day,” said Mario Ruiz, medical manager of the CCSS.
How to help improve the situation?
At the moment, health authorities have NOT announced additional measures to control the spread of the virus, but specialists emphasize the need for each person to do their part to slow the rate of infection.
Limiting exits, not mingling in crowds, avoiding closed, small, and poorly ventilated places, keeping distance from other people, and the use of masks are actions that cannot be forgotten.
In addition, hand hygiene remains essential to prevent both covid-19 and other diseases.
The numbers for Friday, April 23, 2020:
- New cases: 1,656
- Accumulated cases since the first in March 2020: 236,930: 119,374 men and 117,556 women, ranging in age from 0 to 113 years; the average 38.1 years
- Recovered cases: 199,982 (203 over the previous day): 101,014 men and 98,968 women, ranging in age from 0 to 113; the average 37.6 years
- Active Cases: 33,812 (1,442 more over the previous day), ranging in age from 0 to 104; average 38.1 years
- Deaths: 11
- Accumulated deaths: 3,136: 1,953 men and 1,183 women, ranging in age from 2 to 103; average 70.3 years)
- Total hospitalizations: 641, of which 286 (the highest number since the pandemic) in ICU