The Ministry of Health called an unscheduled Good Friday press conference to announce the news that a second Kiwi has succumbed to the illness.
A second New Zealander has died from Covid-19, a woman in her 90s who had been treated at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch.
Dr Caroline McElnay, the Director of Public Health, said the victim died on Thursday after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week. She was one of 20 residents transferred to the Burwood Hospital from Rosewood Rest Home as part of the Canterbury District Health Board’s management of a cluster outbreak.
“As we have seen around the world, Covid-19 is a deadly disease, particularly for those elderly people and those with underlying health conditions. The country’s thoughts are with the Christchurch woman’s family and loved ones at this time.
“Because of the current alert Level 4, no family members were able to visit or be present when she passed away,” McElnay said.
The dead woman had a number of age-related conditions before testing positive for Covid-19. The first New Zealand death was of a woman in her 70s on the West Coast last month.
The total number of confirmed and probable cases rose 44 to 1283, with 16 in hospital, 4 in intensive care, 2 of them critical. A total of 373 people are confirmed as having recovered from the illness, up 56 since yesterday.
The ministry announced no new clusters, leaving the total of significant clusters at 12, with a Bluff wedding (87), the Marist College group (84) and a Matamata St Patrick’s Day gathering (69) still the highest numbers affected.
McElnay said the Canterbury DHB would provide further information on the Rosewood residents and that Covid-19 cluster later on Friday.