A 29-year-old woman died from COVID-19 at a hospital in Nogales, Sonora earlier this week, Sonora’s top health official announced on Saturday.

The woman was from the town of Magdalena de Kino, approximately 55 miles south of Nogales, and came down with symptoms including cough, fever and malaise starting on March 22, Sonora State Health Secretary Enrique Clausen Iberri said during a videoconference on Saturday.

When she didn’t respond to treatment, the woman was taken to a hospital operated by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) in Nogales, Sonora on March 28.

She died on Monday, March 30. A test came back positive for COVID-19 and was reported by IMSS officials on Saturday, Clausen said.

It was the first death officially attributed to COVID-19 in the state of Sonora.

Clausen said there have now been 29 confirmed cases in the state, including one involving a resident of Nogales, Sonora. He announced that case on Friday, along with five others, and said the person was in intensive care and breathing with the help of a ventilator at a local hospital.

On Tuesday, he announced that a 65-year-old woman from the town of Saric, approximately 45 miles southwest of Nogales, was in serious condition at the Hospital General in Nogales, Sonora due to a COVID-19 infection.

The 29-year-old woman who died at the local IMSS hospital on Monday had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, Clausen said, and she had not traveled prior to becoming sick. She hadn't previously been included in the state’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 patients, but instead had been listed as having a “suspected” infection, he said.

The woman's brother told the Hermosillo-based newspaper El Imparcial that she had repeatedly sought treatment in Magdalena for her symptoms, but was diagnosed with a cold on one occasion and bronchitis on another, and sent home each time. It was during these visits that she learned that she might be diabetic, according to a story published on Sunday.

Finally, the woman was taken to the hospital in Nogales, Sonora for intensive care. However, her brother told El Imparcial, family members were never told that she was being tested for COVID-19 and neither she nor they were ever isolated. The family learned from the mortuary that she was suspected to have had COVID-19, he said.

Clausen used part of his videoconference Saturday to dress down those members of the public who are carrying on their lives as normal, organizing large gatherings and dawdling in public places. He pointed to the woman’s death as a harsh reminder that people should stay at home to help stop the spread of the disease.

“If you are following all of the recommendations, many thanks, and keep doing it. Together, we will come out ahead of this,” he said.

“If you are still not convinced, hopefully this painful loss serves to make you aware of reality,” he said. “Stay at home – for your family, for your children, for your loved ones, for the heroes who are fighting in the hospitals for us all. Stay at home.”

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