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Due to the increase in virus infections in the prisons, the ministry authorized 194 prisoners, non infected, to continue to serve
the sentence at home.  - A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo

Published  Tuesday, August 11, 2020

First covid-19 prisoner dead

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Monday the Ministry of Justice confirmed the first case of a prisoner dead by covid-19.

According to information provided by the ministry, the case was a 70-year-old man, who was hospitalized at the San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital since Aug. 6.

The man was serving his sentence in the Complejo Occidente jail, known as La Reforma located in the San Rafael district of Alajuela Province.

Since July 25, the virus was detected inside the jail forcing them into isolation. "He was presenting symptoms of his illness in a stable way in jail, however, on August 6 he presented some health complications and was transferred to the San Rafael Hospital in Alajuela where he died," said Diana Posada, vice-minister of Justice.

As of Monday, the ministry reported 129 infected prisoners of which 40 have already recovered. That is not including the 112 prison workers who were infected, of which 14 have already recovered.

Due to the increase in virus infections in the prisons, the ministry authorized 194 prisoners, non infected, to continue to serve the sentence at home. The prisoners were selected based on an analysis by the National Institute of Criminology.

Since April, the ministry announced the order to continue to serve the sentence at home, due to the pandemic.

The prisoners who present at risk factors susceptible to covid-19 could be sent home temporarily for three months, as long as the pandemic continues, said the ministry.

According to Fiorella Salazar-Rojas, the minister of Justice, said these orders will be made “under obligation to comply with the court order, so these extraordinary evaluations (of prisoners) will be carried out through a technical process based on medical criteria and taking into account a series of factors that analyze the process of care of the prisoner from the moment he entered the jail, to determine that the transfer to a semi-institutional regime (referring to being at home) does not represent a risk for the person himself, for the victims or society."

Before sending prisoners home, medical and criminal evaluations are taken and placed into consideration for their temporary release, said the ministry.

Prisoners released are those who represent the least amount of risk for committing a new crime, Salazar said.

In the rest of the country, as of Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Health provided the following statistics on the status of the virus in the country:

567 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 15,805 active cases. The ages of patients infected range from a three-month-old baby to a 100-year-old person.

6,286 foreign-born people have been infected of the 23,872 cases since March, approximately 26% of the total cases.

• 388 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 84 patients are in Intensive Care Units with delicate health conditions, 304 patients are in recovery rooms. Most of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 7,823 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 32.8% recovery rate.

• 70,399 people have been ruled out.

• 107,461 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

244 deaths of patients infected with covid-19 since March. Which is a 1% death rate. Of these 88 were women and 156 men. The ages range from 23 to a 99-year-old person.

On July 30, authorities reported 30 foreign-born people had died from covid-19 since March, at the time it was 22% of virus-related deaths. However, the ministry confirmed that they will not continue providing information on the number of foreign-born people who die from covid-19 in the country.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its
Covid-19 Map.

As of Monday night, the pandemic has killed
739,980 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

How do you feel about covid-19 infected prisoners staying inside isolation rooms in the jail instead of being released? 
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