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Governor: Avoid large gatherings during Easter

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham urged people Friday not to attend large gatherings during Easter weekend to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

In a livestreamed conference, Lujan Grisham said the goal is to not have any congregate activities during Easter to reduce the risk of infection.

“We know that individuals will practice their faith and you should, and I think that makes a difference. We just don’t want you to do that in a congregate setting,” she said.

Lujan Grisham added it is still not safe for people to assemble in large numbers, and that doing so is not fair, especially for elderly parishioners who are at higher risk for critical care in hospitals and are at higher risk of not surviving an infection.

Unlike some states, New Mexico has not issued an order barring religious gatherings. Lujan Grisham said that is because the faith community and houses of worship in New Mexico have voluntarily canceled services.

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Grisham also said more needs to be done by New Mexicans when it comes to adhering to social distancing practices in order to reduce the risk of infection and avoid the healthcare system becoming overwhelmed by new cases.

The conference coincided with the latest figures of COVID-19 deaths and infections in the state.

A press release from the New Mexico Department of Health issued Friday said an additional 92 infections and three deaths have been reported in the state from the virus. The latest figures bring the number of known infections to 495 and the death toll to 10.

A male in his 90s from Bernalillo County died April 2. Two more males — one in his 80s from Bernalillo County and another in his 70s from Sandoval county— also reportedly died April 3 from the virus.

The release states all three men had underlying medical conditions.

No new confirmed cases were reported Friday in Chaves County. State officials have reported a total of 13 cases in the county as of Friday.

According to a press release from the New Mexico Department of Health, new positive cases include 39 in Bernalillo County, 26 in Sandoval County, nine in San Juan County, eight in McKinley County, four in Socorro County, three in Cibola County and one in Doña Ana County.

Two other cases were reported in counties not yet identified as of Friday afternoon, according to the release.

Numbers of total cases in counties are subject to change following further investigation and determination of residency of individuals.

As of Friday, 41 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in New Mexico. According to the release, 34 people are designated by the Department of Health as having recovered.

The Department of Health also reports the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state is 15,632 of which 15,137 have come back negative.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.