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Published Friday, July 10, 2020 

New medical tower will house
more covid patients

By the  A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Board of Social Security approved, on Thursday night, the preparation of the medical tower, so-called East Tower, of the Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José Province, in the eventual need of attending more covid-19 patients.

The board also approved a plan for expanding the covid units in public hospitals.

"The institution has been working since the beginning of the pandemic to address the increase in people who demand hospitalization, whether in the classroom, intermediate or critical care and with this decision the actions to be followed in the coming days and weeks are defined," said Román Macaya, president of Social Security.

However, no hospital expansion will be sufficient to respond to covid, if citizens do not assume their responsibility to abide by public health recommendations, to achieve a decrease in the rate of increase in cases, Macaya said.

According to Social Security, the expansion plan for attending more covid patients will be applied in public hospitals so that more beds can be provided, as well as intermediate and intensive care units to meet the need in case of an emergency.

The expansion plan will add 59 ICU beds and 134 medical attention beds.

The Specialized Patient Care Center with Covid-19, known as the Covid Hospital in San José Province was the answer at the beginning of the pandemic because “it allowed to attend cases in an exclusive place and thus reduce the risk of infection in other hospitals," said Mario Ruiz - Cubillo, manager of Social Security.

The plan allows for readjustments to open more recovery rooms and the provision of new spaces for the ICU in the hospitals of San Juan de Dios, Calderón Guardia and México.

With this, the additional capacity of 43 new ICU beds and 57 medical care beds expands.

After these changes, Social Security will still be able to develop another phase in more hospitals to enable 159 ICU beds and 134 beds for medical attention.

Also, Social Security announced the use of the newly built medical tower of the Calderón Guardia Hospital, as another strategy for emergency care.

The medical tower, so-called East Tower, is prepared in case of more covid patients, with the provision of 64 ICU beds.

According to Social Security, the new Tower is in its final stage of construction. "This work could be enabled, if necessary, as one more contingent for the management of people requiring hospitalization for covid-19."

Authorities also approved increasing the emergency fund to help meet the needs related to the pandemic, specifically the additional resources that the Tower's operation will require.

The East Tower of the Calderón Guardia Hospital has a total area of 20,708 square meters distributed in 7 floors and valued at $82.2 million, Social Security said.

Health authorities call on the people to respect virus containment measures and apply sanitation guidelines to prevent the continued spread of the virus.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health announced the largest increase in covid-19 cases, with 649 new active patients.

"The accumulated number shows an exponential acceleration,” said the ministry in its statement. This situation merits the elevation of closures that will be revealed to the public.

It is expected for the health authorities to provide more information on the new closure measures today.

As of Thursday, the ministry provided the following statistics of the status of the virus in the country:

649 new cases of patients infected with covid-19, bringing the total to 4,437 active cases.

• The ages of infected patients range from a three-month-old baby to a 96-year-old person.

1,888 foreigners have been infected of the 6,485 cases since March, approximately 29% of the total cases.

• 120 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 106 patients are in recovery rooms and 14 are in an ICU, with delicate health conditions. Most of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 2,023 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 31% recovery rate.

• 36,475 people have been ruled out.

• 52,775 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

On Friday, authorities reported 26 deaths  of patients infected with covid-19 since March, 11 women and 15 men.

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

As of Friday morning, the pandemic has killed
559,855 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

What measures have you taken to stay healthy and safe from covid-19?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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