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ARTESIA — Following the community’s second COVID-19-related death and a spike in cases in the Southeast New Mexico area, Artesia General Hospital COVID-19 Incident Commander Marshall G. Baca Jr., D.O., and AGH staff are urging residents not to diminish their efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Following is a release issued today by Baca and staff:

Over the past few weeks, reported new cases of COVID-19 in Eddy County and statewide have sharply increased. Progress toward reopening has been rolled back, and there is reason to be concerned that the effort to slow the spread will bring increasingly restrictive measures.

We’ve seen the burden of coronavirus mitigation orders. Many of us know people who have been out of work for an extended period due to the virus. We’re all aware, too, of locally owned businesses that have been struggling to continue. Fallout from tighter restrictions could mean some businesses never recover.

Economic concerns are valid. At the same time, the pandemic and efforts to control it need to be taken seriously. As of this writing, there have been a total of 187 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Eddy County, and of those, 124 are currently active. Four are hospitalized.

The track record so far is that most Eddy County residents who have contracted COVID-19 have recovered at home, but a small percentage have become seriously ill. For those who become seriously ill, the disease can be devastating. Over the weekend, we had our second Eddy County COVID-19 death.

There’s every reason to be vigilant in trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The virus is very contagious, treatments for those who catch it are far from perfect, and for some, the consequences are dire.

People are weary of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 precautions and just want life to get back to normal. Still, current guidance is simple. What are the main things being asked of us? Wear a face mask in public, wash hands thoroughly, practice social distancing, and limit outings.

For your own safety, for the safety of your family members, for the sake of our community and New
Mexico as a whole, please do so.

Stay safe, stay healthy, Artesia.