First COVID-19 death announced in New Mexico

New Mexico

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (pink) cultured in the lab. Credit: NIAID-RML

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Health announced the state’s first death resulting from COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 25.

NMDOH reports a male in his late 70s from Eddy County was transported to Artesia General Hospital on Sunday, March 22 and died that same day. The man’s condition is said to have deteriorated rapidly.

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

NMDOH reports the man had multiple chronic underlying health issues.

“This is a tragic day,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a press release. “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 to 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,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

As of Wednesday, March 25, 2020, there are 100 positive cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico. NMDOH encourages New Mexicans who have symptoms of COVID-19 including shortness of breath, fever, and cough to call 855-600-3453 to learn about testing sites across the state.

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