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New Mexico coronavirus death toll reaches 800

COVID-19-related deaths in New Mexico reached the 800 mark Saturday, while the total case count grew to 26,048 since the pandemic hit the state.

State health officials announced an additional 152 cases and six deaths Saturday afternoon. New Mexico officials are urging residents to take precautions while celebrating Labor Day to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

The state “has made great progress in the fight against COVID-19,” but the holiday weekend will be critical to keeping spread of the virus low and ensuring that students can return safely to school this year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement Friday.

“I ask New Mexicans to please not let their guard down – continue wearing masks and avoiding gatherings,” the governor added. “Just one large gathering can lead to hundreds of COVID-19 cases and affect an entire community’s health and safety.”

State officials recommend celebrating outside and keeping celebrations within households. They also urge people to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and stay at least 6 feet away from others.

Grisham said on Thursday that she was easing New Mexico’s self-quarantine requirements for interstate travelers in advance of the holiday and allowing hotels to accept more guests if they undergo certification for coronavirus precautions.

Nora Meyers Sackett, a Governor’s Office spokeswoman, said five of the six people whose deaths were reported Saturday had underlying conditions, and three were hospitalized. They were:

⋄ Two men, in their 70s and 90s, from Doña Ana County. One was a resident of Heritage Assisted Living in Las Cruces;

⋄ A man in his 60s from Lea County; and

⋄ Three men, in their 60s and 70s, from McKinley County.

The new cases were: 24 in Bernalillo County; 23 in Eddy County; 18 in Luna County; 14 in Lea County; 13 in Chaves County, 12 in Doña Ana County; nine in McKinley County; eight in Santa Fe County; six in Rio Arriba County; five in Curry County; four in Roosevelt County; three each in Valencia, San Juan and Grant counties; two each in Catron, Sandoval and Lincoln counties; and one in Colfax County.

There are 68 people hospitalized with the virus, 15 of them on ventilators, and 13,460 cases are designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health.

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