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Six more virus deaths, 104 new cases announced


In a file photo from last week, Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel, left, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham give an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Six more New Mexicans died as the state’s coronavirus outbreak continued tearing through McKinley and San Juan counties, state officials said Tuesday, pushing the statewide death toll to 276.

But the data also included some positive signs, including a drop in the number of patients hospitalized from 213 to 204. The number of new cases confirmed by testing also fell – with 104 announced Tuesday, compared with 140 a week ago Tuesday.

Five of the deaths announced Tuesday were adults from San Juan County – all of whom lived in a group setting in Farmington, either at Life Care Center or the Cedar Ridge Inn facility. The other death was a woman in her 60s from McKinley County.

Release of the new numbers came as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republicans in the Senate clashed over how quickly to reopen more of New Mexico’s economy.

Thirteen of the state’s 16 Republican senators called on Lujan Grisham to lift all restrictions and authorize every business to reopen starting Thursday morning – a move they said was necessary to limit the state’s economic damage and alleviate poverty.

“Common sense would dictate a rational, measured response to what we know about the spread of this virus and the data available to us,” the GOP letter said.

Lujan Grisham responded in a letter of her own, arguing that no public health expert or epidemiologist would advise a full-scale, immediate reopening amid the “unprecedented health crisis.”

The state, she said, is proceeding with a careful, gradual reopening to avoid a spike in coronavirus deaths. Moving too fast, Lujan Grisham said, would “risk further illness and likely death, death that will be lonely and all the more tragic because it was and is within our power to prevent.”

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