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Immediately applying this law would allow approximately 22 available beds to be enabled from the ICU's in private hospitals
 - Social Security courtesy photo -

Published Thursday, September 10, 2020

Private hospital ICU's available
for Social Security use

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The General Health Law allows Social Security to use the Intensive Care Units, ICU's, available in private hospitals to expand the capacity of attention to covid-19 patients.

The possibility of using these services in private ICU'S is allowed through a decree that will be published this week, Social Security said in its statement.

Immediately applying this law would allow approximately 22 available beds to be enabled from the ICU's in private hospitals such as Clínica Bíblica, CIMA and Clínica Católica.

The Vice-Minister of Health, Pedro González met on Wednesday with the representatives of private hospitals, as well as with representatives of the Metropolitano Hospital, who were willing to join the care of the pandemic, Social Security said.

The availability of beds in intensive care units in public hospitals would be a few weeks away from reaching its maximum occupancy capacity, Román Macaya-Hayes, president of Social Security said.

The projection models used to estimate the future evolution of the virus present different scenarios investigated by the University of Costa Rica, the Intel Company and Social Security, indicating that the maximum capacity of beds in the ICU's would be reaching the maximum limit between September and October. This leaves just weeks before capacity is reached.

According to Macaya, since July the increase in the number of cases has been constant and considerable. During the last weeks, an average of 1,000 cases has been reached daily, which contrasts with what happened just two months ago, when it took 5 days to reach the same number.

Currently, more than half of the patients or 55% were infected in family or social activities. And 31% of infections happened at work.

Social Security recently announced that they have invested approximately $113,786,010 from the Contingency Fund to hire more employees, materials, supplies, equipment and infrastructure to face the national emergency due to the pandemic.

The goal of the investment is to have 1,345 beds, of which 359 would be for the care of patients who require intensive care and the remaining for moderate-care patients. "Today we have 304 beds which more than 76% are occupied," Macaya said. "No health system in the world, or our country, can support an exponential increase in cases."

Facing the pandemic requires a combination of the response of health services, individual and community commitment. People must also comply with health prevention measures in a disciplined manner to avoid getting infected.

Macaya called on people to do their part to comply with sanitary measures in homes, jobs and public areas.

As of Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported the following on the statistics of the virus in the country:

1,327 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 31,137 active cases. The ages of patients infected range from a three-month-old baby to a 100-year-old person.

10,894 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 51,224 cases since March, approximately 21.2% of the total cases.

• 509 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 237 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 23 to a 91-year-old person). And 272 patients are in recovery rooms. Most of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 19,544 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 38.2% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

• 105,961 people have been ruled out.

• 172,011 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

543 deaths of people infected with covid-19, approximately 1.1% death rate
of the total cases since March. Of these 205 were women and 338 men. The ages range from 19 to a 100-year-old person.

As of Aug. 31, authorities confirmed the death of 31 foreign-born patients. The youngest and most recent victim was a 19-year-old foreigner who lived in Guanacaste Province. Before then, on July 30, the ministry announced they would not provide updated information on foreign-born people who died from covid-19 in the country, which at the time authorities reported 30 had died from the virus since March.

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 Wednesday night, the pandemic has killed 902,141 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

What strategies are developing in your country to avoid saturation of health services due to the pandemic?  
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