- Associated Press - Monday, June 29, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Mexico is approaching 12,000 as state health officials on Monday reported an additional 173 cases.

The latest cases bring the statewide tally since the outbreak began to 11,982. New Mexico’s most populous counties - Bernalillo and Doña Ana - accounted for nearly half of the additional cases reported Monday.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham warned last week that she was pausing plans for another phase of economic reopening because the numbers were trending upward over consecutive days. She blamed lax personal behaviors and pleaded with people to stay at home, avoid gatherings and to wear masks when out in public.

The number of infections is thought to be higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for some - especially older adults and people with existing health problems - it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

New Mexico’s infections include about 900 state and federal inmates who are being held at lockups around the state. Facilities in Otero County are among the hardest hit.

State health officials also reported an additional death, bringing the total of people in New Mexico who are known to have died from the virus to 493.

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