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Virus overwhelms New Mexico hospital

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 5/19/20, 10:24 am

The evening before New Mexico closed bars and restaurants because of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, people in the city of Gallup turned out in droves. The town on the edge of the Navajo Nation became one of the state’s hot spots, with more than 20 COVID-19 patients transferred directly from a detox center to Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care, the only acute care medical center for the general public within 110 miles of the city. The sick now occupy all eight of the hospital’s intensive care beds, and workers are sending severe cases to the nearby Gallup Indian Medical Center.

How widespread is the epidemic in the region? Though the rest of the state shows signs of recovery, the Navajo Nation remains one of the country’s hardest-hit areas. More than half of New Mexico’s roughly 6,100 confirmed coronavirus cases are in Native American populations. As of Tuesday morning, the United States overall had more than 1.5 million confirmed cases, nearly 90,500 deaths, and more than 283,000 recoveries, Johns Hopkins University reported.

Dig deeper: Read my report in Compassion about how the pandemic has devastated Native American tribes.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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