Costa Rica's hospitals raise alert over Covid-19

The health system says it's at full capacity

Costa Rica’s Social Security Fund (CCSS), which runs the public healthcare system, warned this week the country’s hospitals are at capacity with Covid-19 patients.

“Every day, inter-hospital transfers of patients from across the country are being denied” because of a lack of available beds, the CCSS said Monday.

Let’s look at how the pandemic is evolving in Costa Rica:

New cases are trending up

After spiking to over 2,500 new cases per day in May, the daily tally of new cases steadily dropped until the end of July.

On July 20, Costa Rican authorities first detected the Delta variant in Costa Rica. New cases have been spiking ever since:

The below graph shows how the average number of new cases is rising, even though the amount of testing has remained consistent:

Hospitalizations are spiking 

Of course, the most important statistics of all: How many people are ending up in the hospital with Covid-19, and how many people are dying? 

Hospitalizations surged in late May and early June, then began trending in the right direction until early August. Since then, though, the number of Covid-19 patients requiring care has spiked:

The CCSS says its hospitals are admitting a patient with Covid-19 every nine minutes.

… but deaths aren’t rising as quickly

While the average number of daily deaths related to Covid-19 is climbing, it hasn’t ballooned as quickly as it did in May:

The Health Ministry says this is a result of vaccines. Unfortunately, public data Costa Rica shares doesn’t differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

In 2021 alone, more than 3,375 people in Costa Rica have died of causes related to Covid-19. Thousands of others have been hospitalized and may suffer long-term health effects.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica has generally relaxed measures while pushing for herd immunity. Unfortunately, the highly transmissible delta variant makes reaching herd immunity difficult, and so far less than 25% of Costa Ricans are fully vaccinated.

I have no answers — I’m just a guy with a few spreadsheets and a blog. Hopefully, the next update in a few weeks will be more encouraging.


All charts/graphs made by The Costa Rica Daily. These take time and involve math, so please consider supporting us!

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