Costa Rica on Tuesday inaugurated a medical center that will exclusively treat patients with COVID-19.
The facilities were created in less than two weeks by remodeling the National Rehabilitation Center (CENARE) in San José. They will house patients who test positive for COVID-19 who require hospitalization and specialized care.
CENARE was retrofitted with a new fiber optic network to support telemedicine, a remote monitoring system and other medical equipment — including ventilators and portable radiograph machines — to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
The CENARE facility can house 44 patients, and its capacity will be doubled over the next two days, according to President Carlos Alvarado.
“We worked 24/7 for 11 days,” said Román Macaya, president of the Costa Rican Social Security System. “It’s part of our investment of more than $16 million to face this pandemic.”
Fifteen people in Costa Rica are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, but health authorities said they expect that number to rise over the coming weeks.
“Our health system is capable of uniting to create additional capacity to eventually use if necessary,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas. “We are also capable, as a society, to follow the recommendations of health authorities to limit how much we need to use a facility like this.”
Costa Rica has confirmed 347 cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Tuesday afternoon.
The figure marks a 17-person increase over the same time Monday.
In addition, 15 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 — eight of them in intensive care. The age range of those in intensive care is from 36 to 69 years old, according to the Health Ministry.A graph showing coronavirus cases in Costa Rica through March 31, 2020. Tico Times graph.
Two elderly adults have died after contracting COVID-19, and four people have recovered — meaning Costa Rica has 341 active cases.
The 347 total cases are located in 52 cantons across all seven of Costa Rica’s provinces.