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NM reports 168 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths

Medical staffers administer coronavirus tests at the Lovelace Hospital in Downtown Albuquerque in this May file photo. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico’s recent uptick in new coronavirus cases continued Tuesday as state health officials announced 168 new confirmed cases of the virus statewide.

That included 38 new cases in Bernalillo County, where the rate of COVID-19 spread has increased gradually over the past few weeks.

In fact, the spread rate in the Albuquerque area was the highest of any New Mexico region as of last week, according to Department of Health data.

There were also 19 new cases in Lea County, where county officials last month drew a rebuke from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration for suggesting businesses could reopen in violation of state orders.

Meanwhile, state health officials also said Tuesday that four additional New Mexicans had died due to complications from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 497.

The deceased included two individuals from McKinley County who were hospitalized and had underlying health issues. The northwestern New Mexico county has the state’s highest number of COVID-19 cases, with 4.7% of the county’s population having tested positive for the disease since the outbreak began in mid-March.

The other two individuals who died were both men in their 70s. One was a resident of Luna County; the other, from San Juan County, was a resident of an assisted-living facility in Farmington.

Despite the recent surge of new cases, the number of individuals hospitalized in New Mexico due to coronavirus has decreased in recent weeks, and the state’s death rate has slowed from last month.

There were 127 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of Tuesday, and fewer than half of the available intensive care beds at seven “hub” hospitals around the state were occupied as of this week, according to DOH data.

In addition, there are now 5,393 coronavirus cases designated by the department as having recovered, meaning 44.4% of those who have tested positive for the virus have made a full recovery.

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