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Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has revealed 76 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 as the Government updates its response to the pandemic.
Dr Bloomfield said there were now 589 confirmed and probable cases and 12 people were in hospital. One probable case previously reported was now considered a confirmed case.
He said only 2% of the 455 cases it had properly tracked were considered to have spread by community transmission. That equated to 10 cases.
Dr Bloomfield is set to be joined at today's update by Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
Yesterday the number of Covid-19 cases climbed to 514 and New Zealand was told of its first Covid-19 death.
It has been reported today that the West Coast woman's children also lost their father last year.
Anne Guenole, in her 70s, was today identified as the first Covid-19 related death in this country.
She died yesterday morning at Grey Base Hospital, in Greymouth, after it was first thought she had a strain of the flu.
Her death comes just a few months after her husband, Peter Guenole, died unexpectedly last August. He was in his 80th year.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday was a "very sad day" – but news of the first Covid-19 death brought home why New Zealand moved to alert level four.
"This is devastating news," she said.
'We may need to stay in level 4 longer' - Bloomfield
Just how long the country stays under complete lockdown depends on whether or not more coronavirus cases arise still.
It also depends on people sticking to the rules and staying indoors - and yet another plea is being made to the public to take the current situation seriously.
Dr Bloomfield earlier today said the planned four weeks of lockdown may well be extended.
"If we've still got isolated outbreaks that we can manage quite easily, then that may allow us to get down to level 3.
"If we're still seeing new cases popping up around the place, then that would give us a sense that we may need to stay in level 4 somewhat longer."
Bloomfield told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning that health authorities were now working to figure out what was the criteria - not just the number of cases - and nature of transmission.
They were also looking at how the alert level 4 lockdown would impact the number of hospitalisations and the potential number of deaths related to Covid-19.
It was still too early to identify a trend of those at this stage, he said.
With NZ Herald