Second Covid-19 death in NZ confirmed

A Christchurch woman in her 90s who was living in the Rosewood rest home is the country's second death from Covid-19, the Health Ministry has confirmed.

Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay said the "frail" woman could not have family around her in her last couple of days, because they were not allowed at the facility in Burwood hospital.

"However, hospital staff were able to provide her with comfort and support, and we thank them for that."

The woman was transferred from Rosewood Rest Home and Hospital to Burwood Hospital alongside other residents, as part of a cluster management process and to allow them to isolate together in a ‘group bubble’.

The woman who died had common age-related conditions prior to testing positive for coronavirus.

The Canterbury DHB is investigating staff and residents to find out how the virus affected the resthome.

"This latest sad news reinforces the importance of our move to alert level four," said Dr McElnay, "and the measures that we are all taking to limit the spread, break the chain of transmission and prevent deaths."

New Zealand's first death linked to Covid-19 was on March 29, a woman aged in her 70s on the West Coast.

Watch full media briefing here:


Dr McElnay  said the number of new cases in New Zealand is 44. Of those,  23 were new confirmed and 21 were new probable cases. The country's current total of Covid-19 cases is 1283.

The Canterbury District Health Board recorded the biggest increase today, with 16 new cases, while there were only two new cases in the Southern DHB area. The SDHB remains the area with the greatest number of cases, 202.

Fourteen of the new cases are linked to existing clusters around the country. There remain 12 clusters in New Zealand.

The largest three clusters remain the same: Matamata (69, up 5 on yesterday); Bluff (87, no change); and Marist College (84, no change).

Source: Ministry of Health
Source: Ministry of Health

There were 29 new cases yesterday and Dr McElnay said the rise in new cases showed the country could not be too complacent.

"We are still generally heading in the right direction, and that's very affirming. But it very much emphasises that we're not out of the woods. We would expect to see numbers to go up and down in the immediate short-term."

According to Ministry of Health figures, there are now 373 reported cases of Covid-19 which have recovered - an increase of 56 on yesterday.

There are 16 people in hospital today. That includes five in ICU – one each in Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Waitemata, Counties Manukau and Southern DHBs. Two of these ICU patients in Southern and Waitemata are in a critical condition.

The Ministry of Health said there is still a strong but declining link to overseas travel (40%), and ongoing links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (44%) including those in clusters we already know about and community transmission (2%). It was still investigating 14% of cases.

In terms of testing, yesterday it carried out 4520 tests, with a rolling seven-day average of 3700 and total tests to date of 55,685.

Dr McElnay said personal protective equipment wasn't being rationed and healthcare workers should have access to it and should contact their DHB if that wasn't happening.

She said she recognised the challenge religious leaders faced this Easter, but urged them to follow the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's  advice to stay home and organise to worship from there.

- RNZ and ODT Online 

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