The Minister of Health of Costa Rica, Daniel Salas, ruled out applying extreme measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19, despite the complex situation that exists today in Tico health centers with regards to beds for patients with this disease.
“If we make very important closures, like the restrictions that we had already made in the past, there will be a very important sector of the population that will not even be able to eat dinner. The State has already lost the ability to grant subsidies, stipends and to be giving bonuses,” Salas said at a virtual press conference about the occupation of COVID-19 beds.
After insisting that restricting at this time means people on the street who will not have a way to work and who will not have a livelihood or will not be able to eat dinner on December 24 or 31, Salas urged solidarity to contain the spread of the new SARS-CoV Coronavirus.
“Containing the contagion will prevent the collapse of critical beds in the Intensive Care Units (ICU)”, he said, adding that “queuing in a store is optional, queuing in an ICU is not optional.”
No banning countries
Asked about the possibility – as some countries in Europe and even neighboring El Salvador have already done – of closing the border to people from the United Kingdom due to the detection of a virus mutation in that country, Salas replied that he will not. “It makes no sense to apply that restriction, as the mutated virus will arrive somehow”, stated the Minister.
At that press conference, the medical manager of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), Mario Ruiz, pointed out that the occupation of beds for critical patients due to COVID-19 in ICUs is at capacity.
A critical panorama
“We are facing a critical panorama which we did not want to reach, as this implies that by the outnumbering people in critical conditions with respect to the availability of beds, these patients will not be able to have beds that provide a more specialized treatment for their condition Ruiz pointed out.
“What nobody wanted: CCSS without enough critical beds for COVID-19 patients,” indicated the medical manager and specified that of the maximum capacity of 359 ICU beds for COVID-19, 349 were enabled this past weekend.
He explained that of the 116 critical ICU beds prepared for adults, they only have five, which means an occupation of 97 percent and in pediatric 40 percent, while in the severe ones the occupation is 71 percent, because of the 233 enabled 63 are available.
The most recent report on COVID-19 reflects that Costa Rica accumulates 157 thousand 472 confirmed cases and one thousand 996 deaths since last March when the health authorities detected the first positive case.