The Costa Rican Ministry of Health has prioritized surveillance of the virus’s behavior in 33 high-risk communities , including Upala, Los Chiles, Sixaola, and San Vito, located in close proximity to the borders with Nicaragua and Panama. Other communities are undergoing surveillance due to high population density, including Los Cuadros, Alajuelita, Guidos, and La Carpio. Overcrowding, limited access to water, and dependence on informal employment increase the possibility of transmission in these communities.
Francisca hasn’t had COVID-19, but that is the first question she is asked in every job interview. “If you’ve had it, I can’t hire you,” she’s been told. Meanwhile, she’s focusing on supporting her children’s studies. Tayra has just passed 4th grade in school thanks to support from her aunt, who serves as an intermediary —through WhatsApp— between the girl and her teacher. Francisca does not have a cell phone or internet access.
Her family’s support has enabled her to get through the months without work or her husband. “My family is very important to me, because with everything that’s going on with my husband, my big sister is always by my side supporting me. If I need something, she buys it for me. She’s always been that way; she’s always been like a mother to me.”
The story of this family divided between Costa Rica and Nicaragua is still being written during this unpredictable pandemic. Francisca has two major concerns: work and health. She hopes her husband’s health improves and that her next job interview goes well. Above all, she wants her girls to be able to go back to school. To go back to normal.