New Mexico records first death related to COVID-19

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New Mexico has recorded its first death related to COVID-19, the illness caused by a new coronavirus.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that a man in his late 70s died of the virus not long after he was admitted to Artesia General Hospital in Eddy County on Sunday (March 22).

The man had multiple chronic underlying health conditions, and his condition deteriorated rapidly after he was admitted to the hospital, the department said. He was tested for the virus and his positive result was received on Tuesday (March 24).

"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."

The governor went on to say that continued testing across New Mexico will result in a rising tally of infections, which as of  Wednesday at 11 a.m. still stood at 100. Grisham said more deaths related to the disease are also likely as the virus continues to spread.

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