A third person from the Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch has died from coronavirus.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed on Monday five people have now died from Covid-19 in New Zealand, with three of those deaths linked to Rosewood. The victim was a man in his 80s, who was a resident of the rest home.
Twenty residents from the rest home were moved to Burwood Hospital last Monday.
Bloomfield said that because of the “underlying vulnerabilities of members of this group, we need to be prepared for further serious illness and possibly deaths”.
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He said there were 33 Covid-19 cases associated with the Rosewood cluster, of which 17 were confirmed and 16 were probable. All three deaths were confirmed cases.
Those in the cluster include 13 rest home residents, 18 staff, and two people connected to the cluster through family or close contact connections.
One of those staff members was a Burwood Hospital staff member. Bloomfield said the Canterbury DHB was investigating the route of transmission.
He said all staff involved in the transfer of rest home residents were using appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and this showed that PPE did not automatically prevent people from catching the virus.
There would be wide testing of staff and others who may be related to the cluster, Bloomfield said.
The death follows that of a man in his 70s, who died on Saturday after being moved to Burwood Hospital on Monday with 19 other Rosewood residents. He had underlying health conditions.
On Friday, a woman in her 90s became the first person from the rest home, and the second person in New Zealand, to die of coronavirus. A man in his 80s also died in Wellington Hospital on Friday.
The first person to die of the virus was West Coaster Anne Guenole, aged in her 70s. She died in Grey Base Hospital, in Greymouth, on March 29.
Bloomfield also announced a new cluster in Christchurch that he described a a “small outbreak”. He was seeking further information on the nature of the cluster.