New Mexico has 14 more cases; 2 schools’ students cautioned

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The number of coronavirus cases in New Mexico has grown to 57, and two Albuquerque high schools’ students and staff are being advised to self-isolate because a student at one has tested positive for the disease.

The 14 new cases include a baby boy and eight other people in Bernalillo County, which includes metro Albuquerque, and one each in Dona Ana, Lea, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Taos counties, according to the state Department of Health.

Albuquerque Public Schools officials said the Department of Health notified them Friday that it was investigating a case involving a Del Norte High School student.

The school’s students and staff and those of Nex+Gen Academy Magnet School also located on the Del Norte campus were advised to self-isolate “in an abundance of caution” and to contact the state if symptoms surfaced and required medical attention.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this month ordered New Mexico schools closed to combat spread of the virus.

“We are all in this together,” the school system said in a statement. “The facts so far tell us that everyone is vulnerable to COVID-19 and it is up to every individual to take all possible measures to prevent its spread.”

Del Norte Principal Ed Bortot said in a letter to students’ families that exposure could have occurred during March 4-6 and March 9-10 while the student attended school.

The Department of Health said it would hold a clinic for exposed students to be tested if they are symptomatic.

For most people, the new virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority recover.

Along with the six New Mexico counties where new cases were reported Saturday, other counties with at least one previously reported case include McKinley, Socorro and San Miguel.

In Santa Fe, Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center officials said the hospital wasn’t close to running out of medical supplies amid the outbreak, though it had sent an email asking for donations such as gloves, protective suits and cleaning items, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The hospital was simply reaching out to businesses and other organizations “to see if they could donate or we could buy any excess supplies,” spokesman Arturo Delgado said.

Delgado said Christus St. Vincent was showered with calls of concern and offers to donate items, and social media was peppered with posts about a potential supply shortage, which has been reported at other medical facilities across the country.

Christus St. Vincent currently receives plenty of supplies from manufacturers, but it made the request “out of an abundance of caution,” Delgado said.

The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in central New Mexico will close temporarily starting Sunday “to promote social distancing,” the National Park Service said in a statement Saturday. The park has artifacts from From prehistoric ancestral Puebloan and Jumano groups, 17th century Spanish Franciscan missionaries, returning settlers of the 1800s and the 19th and 20th century archaeologists.

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