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New Mexico reports 1st coronavirus death as infection toll grows to 112

new mexico coronavirus

ARTESIA, New Mexico (KVIA) -- A man in his late 70's has died in Eddy County, marking New Mexico's first coronavirus death, officials said Wednesday.

That announcement came as 13 additional cases were confirmed, bringing the state's infection toll to 112.

Nearly half of the new cases occurred in Bernalillo County, which is the Albuquerque metro and has been the hardest hit by the virus. None of the new cases were in Dona Ana County.

Of the 112 total positive tests, many have been concentrated in population centers including Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, with infections confirmed in 14 of the state's 33 counties.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, the man who died went to Artesia General Hospital on Sunday, where his condition deteriorated rapidly. He died earlier this week and later tested positive for the virus.

Officials said the man had multiple chronic underlying health conditions. It was unclear where he was living before his hospitalization and how he was infected.

As of Wednesday, there were nine other individuals who remained hospitalized across the state as a result of the virus.

With confirmed infections climbing, schools are still shut down and a stay-at-home order remains in effect to help slow the person-to-person spread of the virus. The order limits gatherings to five people and closes non-essential businesses.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the first virus death in the state marked a tragic day and urged residents to take precautions to limit the spread of the disease.

“As we test more people in the state, we will see the number of infections rise. And as we see the number of infections rise, we are likely to see more death,” Lujan Grisham said. “Social distancing and isolation is the best tool we have right now.”

She also issued two new orders Wednesday designed to address the shortage of protection equipment for health care workers.

New Mexico is wrestling with limited supplies of personal protection equipment, as medical centers seek public donations of masks, gloves and robes and conserve what supplies they have.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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