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Artesia General Hospital has issued a statement regarding this morning’s announcement that New Mexico’s first COVID-19-related death occurred Sunday in Artesia.

It is with great sorrow that we have to announce the death of an Artesia resident on Monday as a result of COVID-19. The patient was admitted to Artesia General Hospital on Sunday, March 22, presenting symptoms of the virus. He was tested and his results were expedited, the results of which came back positive this morning from the New Mexico Department of Health.

Many of us share the family’s grief, and on behalf of Artesia General Hospital, we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the patient’s family.

We are conducting ongoing tests and await results, but at this time we have not received any additional positives. It is important to note that it can take up to seven days to receive test results, so additional positive results are possible.

We continue to work diligently with the New Mexico Department of Health to release the pertinent information to the community.

Leadership at AGH anticipated the arrival of the virus and has implemented a comprehensive, multi-level plan to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19. This phased plan is aimed at properly caring for all patients, including those who might have COVID-19; protecting the patients and caregivers; and actively preventing the spread of the virus.

The community is asked to do their part. Artesia citizens are urged to continue following the public health orders of the New Mexico Department of Health, as well as CDC guidelines: Wash your hands often, use social distancing, stay home if you’re sick, and cover coughs and sneezes.

If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms and think you may have contracted COVID-19, please call the NMDOH coronavirus hotline for screening at 1-855-600-3453. If you are having trouble breathing, please go to the emergency room.