First death linked to COVID-19 in NZ

By Jessica Tyson

New Zealand has had its first death linked to COVID-19 after a woman in her 70s passed away this morning.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the woman on the West Coast had initially been admitted with what was thought to be influenza complicated by an underlying chronic health condition.  

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

“All of our thoughts are with the woman’s family and loved ones at this time.”

Dr Bloomfield says once the diagnosis for the woman was first confirmed, staff took a range of measures to protect themselves and other patients.

“However as a precautionary approach, the DHB has placed 21 staff in self-isolation for the balance of 14 days from their last involvement in the patient’s care.

“Family members visiting the woman in hospital, who do not have symptoms, will also be in monitored self-isolation for the next 14 days.”

Total of cases reach 514

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand currently sits at 514.

“There were also 63 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand made up of 60 new confirmed cases and 3 probable cases. This is as at 9.00 am this morning.”

There are 56 individuals who have recovered from the virus.

Māori account for 4 per cent of cases and Pacific make up 2.3 per cent.

Patients in hospital

There are nine people in hospital with COVID-19.

“There are three in Wellington Regional Hospital, one in Wairau Hospital (Blenheim), one in Nelson Hospital, one in Whangarei Hospital and one each in Waikato, Taranaki and Dunedin hospitals.

“We have one person in ICU on a ventilator. For privacy reasons we won’t be providing other details on these patients.”

Dr Bloomfield says New Zealand’s health system will continue to do everything it can to help patients with COVID-19.

“We have sufficient hospital capacity to manage our current and projected cases and we have plans in place to boost capacity – if needed.”