Invercargill man first to die of virus at home

An Invercargill man who became the first New Zealander to die at home from Covid-19 had links to the Bluff wedding cluster.

The dead man was Alister Peter Brookland, known as Barney. Mr Brookland, aged in his 70s, died in his Kingswell home on Tuesday evening.

The Otago Daily Times understands his wife was employed by the Invercargill City Council, where several employees had tested positive for Covid-19.

The Bluff cluster has been connected to more than 90 cases, including the death of the groom's father.

The bride at the wedding also worked for the Invercargill City Council.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday confirmed the death was linked to Covid-19.

Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming said the first Covid-19 death in the South was "very sad news".

"We send our sympathy to the family of the Invercargill resident.

"The first death in [the South] is something we hoped would not happen and reminds us of the importance of the work we are all doing to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our community."

Mr Brookland's death — the first in the community — brings New Zealand’s toll to 12.

Family members contacted yesterday declined to comment.

A death notice published at the weekend said Mr Brookland’s wife of 48 years, Joan, was with him when he died.

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