Published Wednesday, April 8, 2020 

Labs received covid-19 tube test donation while 483 patients are infected in the country

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The University of Costa Rica announced on Tuesday the donation of 8,000 special test tubes for blood sample collections for coronavirus covid-19 lab tests. Social Security will manage the donation to avoid possible scarcity of these medical supplies in the country.

The current global pandemic has triggered the demand for protective medical equipment, which could cause the risk of a shortage of supplies in most countries of the world, reported the World Health Organization, WHO.

According to WHO, among the necessary medical supplies are the human blood tube containers, the so-called test tube. This is where blood samples should be kept to proceed with the covid-19 lab tests.

These test tubes are used to keep the blood sample “alive” while it arrives at a laboratory for testing. If the blood is not kept in these types of special test tubes, there could be some type of chemical alteration that could generate a false negative result putting the patient's life at risk.

“These coronavirus test tubes are necessary to preserve the blood sample. It is a tube that contains antibiotics and antifungals to avoid contamination. Also, it has preservative substances to avoid cell disintegration before reaching their diagnosis,” said Eugenia Corrales -Aguilar, a specialist of the University.

According to the University, private laboratories will also benefit because 1,000 of these special test tubes will be sent to them.

Last week the Ministry of Health authorized eight private laboratories to carry out the covid-19 test. These laboratories are Echandi, Hospital La Católica and Hospital Cima, LABIN, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, Páez, Laboratorio San José and Hospital Metropolitano.

The public hospitals that are carrying out covid-19 medical tests are San Juan de Dios, Hospital México, Children Hospital, INCIENSA and the Laboratory of the University of Costa Rica.

The ministry confirmed last week that an investigation was opened into an alleged case of negligence with a patient infected with the coronavirus covid-19.

Daniel Salas from the Ministry of Health said he requested the General Auditory to investigate the supposed refusal of staff from Marcial Fallas Public Clinic in Desamparados, San José Province, to carry out a covid-19 diagnostic test on a patient.

It was reported that after clinic staff denied to proceed with the covid-19 lab test, a patient had to pay a private laboratory for this medical test.

"The investigation of the case will advance, regarding this process, we will not refer to it until the conclusion of the research," Salas said. "But what I do wish to emphasize is that this investigation is necessary and urgent to analyze possible weaknesses in the process and opportunities to improve. This does not diminish from the hard work and dedication of all our staff for emergency care.”

The investigation has looked into staff from the Ministry of Health, Social Security, the 1322 call center, paramedics from the Red Cross and specialists from the private laboratory, said the ministry in its statement.

The authorities are expected to publish the result of this investigation within the next few days.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health reported an increase of 16 new patients infected with the coronavirus covid-19 rising to a total of 483 cases in the country.

Of these 26 are being treated in public hospitals, where 14 of them have been reported in intensive care with delicate health conditions.

The patients' ages range from 1 to 87 with an average age of 38. Of those, 17 are children under the age of 13, 437 are between 18 and 70 years old, and 29 are elder patients over the age of 70.

Of those infected, 237 are women (49%) and 246 are men (51%). It was reported 34 foreigners are infected.

Twenty four coronavirus patients are fully recovered. Since the virus was detected in the country one month ago, 5,042 people have been ruled out.

Two 87-year-old patients died due to the coronavirus covid-19.

The daily updated number of patients throughout the country can be reached at the covid-19 map of the UNED University site.

As of today, the pandemic has killed  82,020 people around the world, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Should authorities enable covid-19 medical tests in rural public hospitals?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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