(QCOSTARICA) In Costa Rica, less than 10% of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 require hospitalization, while the World Health Organization (WHO) says around 1 in every 5 people (20%) who catch COVID-19 needs hospital treatment.
Why is Costa Rica’s rate lower?
Dr. Román Macaya, executive president of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), explained this Monday that there are many factors, including:
- Daily follow-up by doctors to patients through phone calls.
- Symptom monitoring. When a patient requires hospitalization, all logistics are coordinated to make the transfer.
- The use of hydroxychloroquine.
Costa Rica resumed the use of hydroxychloroquine after the medical journal, The Lancet, retracted the results of the study that led the World Health Organization (WHO) suspension of the use of the drug.
“That study generated enormous questioning and criticism for the inconsistencies in the data. In fact, the same company that conducted the study is under investigation,” explained the CCSS president.
A few days ago Macaya explained that, although the average ‘positive’ is 14 days, there are patients in Costa Rica who continue to test positive for COVID-19 after 60 days.
Those positive patients for more than 14 days were categorized as: those with compromised health and hospitalized (even in an Intensive Care Unit) and those who continue to test positive even though they are at home, even asymptomatic.
“Why do they keep testing positive? There are different possibilities. The first is that the PCR technique, which is the one used to detect the virus, may be detecting a particle of the virus, RNA – which is the chain of genetic material that is amplified to detect the virus – and that, only that present and not the virus, that is, not necessarily because they are positive, it means that they have the active virus in their body.
“There is no evidence that they are contagious or that they will have a worse prognosis in the future, but despite this, they must remain under the health order as a precautionary measure,” he explained.
Another possibility is that the replacement of the airways can take up to 3 months, that is, the process of releasing all the virus particles takes a long time.
“There are also patients who test positive, then negative, and then positive and are in that alternation. There is another possibility: when the sample is taken, the sample is insufficient to amplify the genetic material of the virus and detect it, and this may be generating a false negative.
“No test is 100% sensitive. In these cases where there is an alternation, there is no evidence that they are relapses in the disease or that they are likely to worsen over time,” stressed the doctor.