The New Mexico Department of Health announced this morning the state the first death reported as a result of COVID-19.

According to a news release, an Eddy County man in his late 70s, with multiple underlying and chronic health issues, died Sunday, March 22, at Artesia General Hospital. He had been admitted that day and his condition deteriorated quickly.

A test for COVID-19 was performed in Eddy County yesterday and confirmed  positive by the state Scientific Laboratory.

"This is a tragic day," said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. "Across our state, across the country, we are all reeling from the effects of this virus. For anyone in our state who had not yet acknowledged this virus as the urgent public health crisis that it is, who has not accepted the extremely compelling need to stay home, today lays bare the very real, very life-or-death consequences of this disease. My prayers are with the family of this New Mexican. I ask all New Mexicans to include the sick and their families in their prayers—as well as the health care workers and those others on the front lines helping protect us from this disease."

Lujan Grisham's statement further emphasized the need for New Mexicans to remain at home under current state rules, and to expect further deaths from the virus: "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."

As of yesterday, the state reported 100 cases in the state across 12 counties. However, Eddy County did not have any recorded cases in yesterday's figures supplied by the state, which accounted for the prior day's testing.

New Mexicans who are symptomatic – fever, shortness of breath, cough – for COVID-19 may call 855-600-3453 to learn about testing sites across the state. There is more information updated regularly on cv.nmhealth.org.