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NM coronavirus death toll hits 400

A patient waits to get into a hospital in Gallup in this April 3 file photo. New Mexico’s northwest region has been hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

SANTA FE – New Mexico’s coronavirus death toll has hit 400, after four additional deaths were reported Monday.

The four deceased all lived in the state’s northwestern region, which has a high Native American population and has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Three of those who died were from McKinley County: two men in their 60s and a woman in her 70s. The fourth was a man in his 30s from San Juan County.

Meanwhile, state health officials announced 124 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than half from McKinley and San Juan counties.

Ten new cases were reported in Bernalillo County, which has had outbreaks in several senior living facilities but low infection rates among the general population.

Statewide, New Mexico’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases peaked May 1, while hospitalizations peaked in mid-May, state Human Services Secretary David Scrase said last week.

The state’s declining transmission rate of the virus – along with its expanded testing capacity – prompted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration to allow dine-in restaurants, gyms and salons to reopen on June 1.

However, there have been some trouble spots, including an outbreak at the Otero County Prison Facility that caused nearly half the prison’s state inmate population to test positive for the virus.

And state officials have acknowledged that the gradual reopening of the state’s economy – along with race-related protests that have drawn large crowds in several New Mexico cities – could lead to a spike of new cases.

“We would expect to see some uptick in cases with any kind of reopening at all,” Scrase said last week.

The number of people hospitalized in New Mexico due to COVID-19 was 183 as of Monday, down by eight from a week ago.

In addition, the Department of Health has designated 3,380 individuals as having recovered from the disease – or about 37.3% of all whose who tested positive.

The number of recoveries could actually be even higher, Scrase said, as some people who have gotten over the virus may not have informed state health workers about their improved condition.

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