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5 more residents, 8 staff members at retirement facility are infected

Health workers prepare to check people on Friday at La Vida Llena, a retirement community in Northeast Albuquerque facing a COVID-19 oubreaking. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Five additional residents and eight more staff members at a Northeast Albuquerque retirement community have tested positive for COVID-19, the Governor’s Office said Saturday.

The news comes a day after officials announced 22 positive cases and the deaths of two men at La Vida Llena, near Montgomery and Morris. The facility, which houses 425 people, has now seen 35 cases in the past week.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, meanwhile, announced an additional COVID-19 death Saturday – a man in his 60s from McKinley County.

“The individual was hospitalized and had underlying medical conditions,” according to the news release issued by Governor’s Office spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett. So far, New Mexico has reported 11 deaths related to the new coronavirus.

In all, 51 new cases of COVID-19 were announced Saturday – bringing the state’s total to 543.

Of the new cases: 23 were in Bernalillo County, nine in San Juan County, six in Santa Fe County, four in Cibola County, three in Torrance County, two in Sandoval County and one each in Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley and Rio Arriba counties.

The Governor’s Office said that 37 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 54 cases are designated as having recovered from the virus.

A spokesman for La Vida Llena said all 24 residents who tested positive were housed in the nursing unit, and the 11 staff members work in various areas of the retirement community.

Mark Goodman, the corporate director of community development for La Vida Llena’s parent company, said no additional deaths or hospitalizations have occurred, and the rest of the cases are now “asymptomatic.”

He said every resident in the nursing unit has been tested and isolated as the facility moves on to testing hundreds of other residents and staff members.

So far, Goodman said, 100 people have been tested.

“We have not received any results back from those tests yet,” he said.

Goodman said they expect those test results in the coming days, but testing will continue into this week.

“There are more people that need to be tested,” he said. “We have somewhere around 425 residents and 250 staff.”

The outbreak, announced Friday, was traced to a resident who tested positive March 28 after being exposed by a “private caregiver,” the company said.

Since then, two men, one in his 90s and the other in his 80s, have died from the virus. Both men had underlying medical conditions.

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