Coronavirus: NZ's second COVID-19 victim unable to have family around when she died

New Zealand's second COVID-19 victim was unable to have family around her when she died in Christchurch on Thursday, the Ministry of Health says.

The victim, a woman in her 90s, died at the city's Burwood Hospital. She was one of 20 residents transferred there from the Rosewood Rest Home after a number of them contracted COVID-19.

"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," said director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay.

"However, hospital staff were able to provide her with comfort and support and we thank them for that."

Dr McElnay said the country's thoughts were with the woman's family.

Christchurch's Rosewood Rest Home.
Christchurch's Rosewood Rest Home. Photo credit: Facebook

"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," Dr McElnay told reporters.

"This latest sad news reinforces the importance of our move to alert level 4 and the measures we are all taking to limit the spread, break the chain of transmission, and prevent deaths.

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

Dr McElnay on Friday announced 44 new cases in New Zealand - taking the country's total to 1283.

Greymouth woman Anne Guenole, aged in her 70s, was the country's first death. She returned a positive test for COVID-19 after initially being diagnosed with influenza, complicated by an underlying health condition.