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SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health on Wednesday announced the state’s first death related to COVID-19.

Per the state Department of Health, a male in his late 70s in Eddy County died Sunday, March 22, at Artesia General Hospital.

On March 22, he went to the hospital, where his condition deteriorated rapidly. He died the same day.

A COVID-19 test was performed locally and sent to the state laboratory, which received the test Tuesday, March 24. The lab confirmed the positive test late the same day.

The individual had multiple chronic underlying health issues.

“This is a tragic day,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Across our state, across the country, we are all reeling from the effects of this virus. For anyone in our state who had not yet acknowledged this virus as the urgent public health crisis that it is, who has not accepted the extremely compelling need to stay home, today lays bare the very real, very life-or-death consequences of this disease. My prayers are with the family of this New Mexican. I ask all New Mexicans to include the sick and their families in their prayers – as well as the health care workers and those others on the front lines helping protect us from this disease.”

“In light of this news, I want to further emphasize: As we test more people in the state, we will see the number of infections rise. And as we see the number of infections rise, we are likely to see more death. This is why it is absolutely imperative that New Mexicans remain home except for only those most essential or emergent outings. Social distancing and isolation is the best tool we have right now for mitigating the spread of this virus and avoiding capacity issues within our state’s health care system. All of us must undertake these steps in order to save more lives and prevent more deaths.”

New Mexico residents have been instructed to stay home except for outings essential to health, safety and welfare in order to minimize person-to-person contact. All non-essential businesses in the state have been ordered to cease in-person operations.

New Mexicans who are symptomatic – fever, shortness of breath, cough – for COVID-19 may call 855-600-3453 to learn about testing sites across the state. There is more information updated regularly on cv.nmhealth.org

Live from Silver City

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