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Northwestern New Mexico remains state’s hotspot

New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, right, checks the temperature of everyone in the room, including certified deaf interpreter Nixo Lanning, before the start of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s update on the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico on Friday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Northwestern New Mexico reached two troubling milestones on Saturday as the state released its latest COVID-19 numbers.

McKinley County – with a population about a 10th the size of Bernalillo County – has surpassed Bernalillo in COVID-19 cases with 708 and 670, respectively, according to numbers announced by the Governor’s Office on Saturday.

Meanwhile, San Juan County has tied Bernalillo County in the number of deaths related to the virus with 33.

The Navajo Nation, parts of which are in McKinley and San Juan counties, has been hit particularly hard by coronavirus. The rate of reported cases on Navajo land is about eight times higher than in New Mexico.

In all, 139 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths in the state were reported Saturday.

Governor’s spokeswoman Jodi McGinnis Porter said the state has now seen a total of 2,660 cases and 93 deaths from the virus.

Six of the most recent deaths were in San Juan County, including five people who were residents of the Life Care Center of Farmington. Those who died were two women in their 80s, a woman in her 60s, two men in their 80s, and a man in his 90s.

Additionally, a woman in her 50s and a man in his 40s died in Sandoval County, while a woman in her 50s died in Catron County.

Of the new cases reported Saturday, 69 were in McKinley County, 19 in Bernalillo County, 16 in Doña Ana County, 15 in San Juan County, eight in Sandoval County, five in Guadalupe County, two in Roosevelt County, and one each in Cibola, Curry, Santa Fe, Socorro and Union counties.

Porter said there are now 161 people hospitalized with the virus around the state and 632 people have been deemed recovered by the state Department of Health.

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