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Second Death Linked To COVID-19, 44 New Cases

The Ministry of Health is sad to report the country’s second death linked to COVID-19.

The second death is of a woman in her nineties at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch on Thursday.

The woman had recently returned a positive test to COVID-19.

As we have seen around the world, COVID-19 can be a deadly disease – particularly for elderly people, and also those with underlying health issues.

New Zealand’s first death linked to COVID-19 was on March 29 on the West Coast, in a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions.

As in that case, the country’s thoughts will be with the Christchurch woman’s family and loved ones at this time.

Understandably, the family will take time to grieve, and we would ask that their privacy be respected.

In this case, we can say that the woman was one of a group of 20 residents transferred from Rosewood Rest Home & Hospital to Burwood Hospital earlier in the week as part of the Canterbury District Health Board’s cluster management process.

These residents were relocated to a ward at Burwood to allow them to isolate together in a ‘group bubble’.

The woman who sadly died had experienced a number of common age-related health conditions prior to her testing positive for COVID-19 this week.

Because of the current Alert Level 4, no family members were able to visit the woman in hospital in recent days and were not able to be present when she passed away. Hospital staff were able to provide her with comfort and support and we thank them for that.

This latest sad news reinforces the importance of our move to Alert Level Four, and the measures we are all taking to limit spread, break the chain of transmission and prevent deaths.

Our health system will continue to do everything it can to support the fight against COVID-19.

Canterbury DHB will provide additional information this afternoon relating to ongoing care and support for other Rosewood residents and their families.

Numbers update

Today there are 44 new cases of COVID-19 to report - made up of 23 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 21 new probable cases. There has been one additional death to report.

At this stage, 14 of the new 44 cases are linked to existing clusters, with investigations ongoing for others.

There are now 373 reported cases of COVID-19 which we can confirm have recovered – an increase of 56 on yesterday.

We can continue to report more people recovered than new combined cases.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1283.

Today there are 16 people in hospital. 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.

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing 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%). We are still investigating 14% of cases.

There are still 12 significant clusters. Our three largest clusters remain the same: Matamata (69, up 5 on yesterday); Bluff (87, no change); and Marist College (84, no change).

In terms of testing, yesterday we carried out 4520 tests, with a rolling 7 day average of 3700 and total tests to date of 55,685.

NOTE - the ICU figure in this release updates today's standup, to include a patient in Hawke's Bay.

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