(QCOSTARICA) From Sunday 21 to Sunday 28 June, a total of 1,003 new positive cases of COVID-19 were registered. In the last five days, all over 140, including the highest ever for a single day, 169 on June 25.
If this trend continues, according to doctor Mario Ruiz, medical manager of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), popularly known as the “Caja”, another two weeks like this, could mean no more available Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds available.
“The capacity under the case increase scenario could have exhausted capacity by the time we exceed 250 cases a day,” said the doctor.
Currently (June 29) there are 37 patients hospitalized, the highest so far, of which 3 are in Intensive Care.
For the most part, the patients are from prior to the spike experienced this past week. Within a week, the number could be doubled and tripled by the second week. And worse if the trend of new cases continues.
The problem is that until April 18 for every 6 coronavirus tests done, one was positive, but during the last week, that number changed greatly. Now, as of June 26, 3 out of every 6 tests are positive.
The Caja has 477 beds exclusively for COVID-19, which could be increased to 2,713, but would take away space for non-COVID-19 patients.
“It would be taking away beds for patients with diabetes, heart problems, in short, all the diseases that afflict the country and this could generate a perfect storm for stopping treating patients with heart attacks, with diabetes, who require surgery, patients who have cancer and they need to have an operation… and the emergency services could also collapse,” explained the doctor.
In intensive care beds the situation narrows and becomes more complicated, of the 257 ICU beds, 24 are exclusive to COVID-19, and the rest used in the care of patients with habitual pathologies.
“A fact that must be taken into account are the days of hospitalization, a person occupies a hospital bed in ward for about nine days, but in an ICU, it is 16 days.
“This data is very sensitive because we have identified that it takes about 8 days for a person to get complicated and that is when they end up interned. The more days a person remains hospitalized, the less beds are available,” explains Dr. Ruiz.
When reviewing ICU bed occupancy with confirmed and suspected patients as of June 29, there were 3 beds occupied and 21 vacant.
“If the number of patients requiring critical care increases in a short time, the situation becomes complicated and we can face a scenario that nobody wants to see,” Ruiz said.
The ideal, according to the doctor, is that the country can attend to all coronavirus cases in a single hospital, and for this the Covid-19 Specialized Patient Care Center (Ceaco), in La Uruca, was set up.
If the beds of other hospitals begin to be used to treat coronaviruses, the risk of contagion increases to patients who are hospitalized with another type of disease and to health personnel.
“There is an imminent risk that the ICU capacity may be depleted in the short term… If we reach 2,000 cases a week, in two weeks the beds will run out and above 2,000, the collapse of the public system is absolute.
“There is no health system (in the world) that can withstand a pandemic when contagions grow and grow, so we must all respect hygiene measures and help the contagion stop,” said Dr. Ruiz.
The numbers as they stood at Sunday Noon:
- Three COVID-19 patients died in two days, they were three women, all three diagnosed a few days prior to entering hospital and the ICU.
- In total 15 people have died, 6 women and 9 men, with an age range of 26 to 87 years.
- The accumulated total infections is 3,130 and the recovered is 1,366.
- Of the total, 2,280 are Costa Ricans and 850 foreigners. The Ministry of Health will not release the nationality of the foreigners.
- The number of positive cases have been reported in 79 of the 82 cantons across the country.
- On Sunday, 151 new cases were reported, the first consecutive day with more than 140 daily cases.
- The highest single-day confirmed cases is 169, reported on June 25.
Following is an interactive report by the Ministry of Health, updated daily every afternoon.