Region, COVID-19

A Teen, a Senior, and a Hospital Employee: What We Know About the COVID-19 Cases in Guanacaste

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

In Guanacaste, there are three people confirmed with COVID-19, a virus that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared to be a pandemic on March 11. That means it is a virus that is “worldwide at more or less the same time,” Rosalind Eggo, an academic specialist in infectious diseases in London, explained to the BBC.

The three confirmed people recently made trips to the United States: two women (16 and 70 years old) who are Americans residing in the canton of Santa Cruz and a Costa Rican employee (29 years old) of La Anexión Hospital in Nicoya, who returned to the country through Juan Santamaría Airport. All are in stable condition in their homes.

The first case detected, on Sunday, March 8, was the 70-year-old American who recently traveled to the United States and went through two airports in that country.

The patient has asthma, specified the head of the first level of health care in the Santa Cruz Health Area, Luis Alonso Matarrita. He added that, despite her risk factor, development has been satisfactory. “[She] no longer has symptoms,” he said of the 70-year-old American.

To discharge a person with the new coronavirus, the Ministry of Health does two two tests, 24 hours apart, which must result negative. This was explained today at a press conference by the director of Health System Surveillance, Rodrigo Marín.

Matarrita added that scientific studies on this virus have not ruled out that a person can get COVID-19 again.

The second patient announced yesterday in the daily report from the Ministry of Health is a 16-year-old American teenager who arrived in the country on Saturday, March 7 with flu symptoms. Since she arrived, she has been in her home in Santa Cruz.

According to the doctor, samples were taken from four family members and people who traveled with her, but no further cases were confirmed.

Since she is young, she will surely recover soon,” Matarrita evaluated.

The latest case, published on Sunday by the Municipality of Nicoya and yesterday by the Ministry of Health, is an employee of La Anexión Hospital in Nicoya who traveled to the United States, related hospital director Anner Angulo.

Since arriving in the country, the employee has been on sick leave because he had flu symptoms. However, on Thursday he went to the hospital for medical attention and was in close contact with hospital staff.

For that reason, the employees who were in contact with him are staying in their homes until they have test results to detect if someone else was infected. For this entire week, the hospital canceled outpatient appointments, surgeries, mammograms, ultrasounds, X-rays and laboratory tests. It also restricted visiting hours for inpatients from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

To date, the country has registered 50 positive cases of COVID-19, six foreigners and 44 Costa Ricans, in the provinces of San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago and Guanacaste. The Ministry of Health has ruled out 720 cases.


*Journalist disclaimer: The first version of this article indicated that, according to Dr. Luis Alonso Matarrita, there’s no second test to detect whether or not a patient continues to have COVID-19. He added that they rule it out by the diappearance of symptoms. He said that today (the day we publish this article) the 70-year-old American would be discharged. However. this was modified when the director of the Health System Surveillance, Rodrigo Marín, clarified in a press conference that two tests must be done, 24 hours apart, and the results must be negative to discharged a person.