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2 new Dona Ana County virus deaths among 10 in New Mexico; governor allows breweries to reopen

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham points to her face mask as she discusses people wearing them.
Santa Fe New Mexican/Pool
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham points to her face mask as she discusses people wearing them.

SANTA FE, New Mexico -- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she would allow breweries and brew pubs - but not bars - to reopen at 50% capacity as she weighs the risk of the current Covid-19 situation in the state.

Health officials reported 10 new virus-related deaths across the state, which included two fatalities in Dona Ana County: A man in his 60s who was hospitalized and another man in his 80s who was a resident of the Jim Wood Home nursing facility in Hatch.

There were also 18 new virus cases in Doña Ana County, taking the total to 632. Among those latest cases were three officers and an inmate at the Doña Ana County Detention Center.

Meantime, a massive virus outbreak at the Otero County Prison continued to grow its case count, with 19 additional infections among inmates reported there to grow the total to 514. As a result, prison officials told ABC-7 on Thursday that the facility was no longer accepting new inmates.

The governor and her staff called the situation in the southwest part of the state "troubling," noting that it is the only region above the target rate of spread in New Mexico.

She indicated that the Otero prison was a driver of cases in the region, and criticized the private company hired by the federal government to manage the facility for failure to take appropriate safety steps and be responsive to concerns expressed by the state.

But officials said the prison isn't the only factor in the case increases in the southwest portion of the state.

Indeed, an ABC-7 review of the state's data found 23% of Doña Ana County's total cases have come in the last week. In all, there have been 148 additional cases reported since June 4 through Thursday.

Across all of New Mexico, cases rose by 121 to 9,367 on Thursday with 420 deaths to date. Health officials indicated that 12.9% of all cases now involved children, giving New Mexico the fourth highest rate among all states in the nation.

As a result, the governor vowed "not to move too fast" in reopening the economy. That's why she said breweries could operate outdoor areas at just 50% capacity on Friday and indoor areas at 50% come Monday. Only seated service at socially-spaced tables would be allowed both outside and inside.

Her latest health order did not include bars, which she said are a separate dynamic because people tend to congregate in larger gatherings for longer periods of times, often to enjoy entertainment and socialization. Lujan Gisham also noted that many breweries and brew pubs serve food, which makes them less like bars and more like restaurants - which have been allowed limited reopening.

Article Topic Follows: New Mexico

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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