A father of four in his 50s has died at Middlemore Hospital today after being admitted for Covid-19.
He is the youngest person whose death has been linked to the virus in New Zealand and the first Covid-related death here since May 28.
It is also the first death from the Auckland cluster, of which 152 people have been linked to.
The total number of Covid-19 related deaths in New Zealand is now 23.
Newshub have reported the man was a father of four and worked at Mt Wellington coolstore Americold, with the man who was the cluster's index case. At least 10 people associated with Americold have tested positive to Covid-19. That includes seven employees and three contractors.
The first case of community transmission in New Zealand for over 100 days involved someone from the Americold cool-store facility in Mt Wellington. It forced Auckland into an alert level 3 lockdown and the rest of New Zealand to alert level 2.
On August 18, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said it was highly unlikely that the cool store was the source of the community cluster.
An earlier theory suggested freight from an Americold facility in Melbourne caused the cluster, which is now linked to 98 people, all of whom have been moved into quarantine.
Americold NZ managing director Richard Winnall had told the Herald he could "completely rule out" any suggestion his facilities were the source.
And at the time Bloomfield reiterated Winnall's comments, saying the likelihood of anyone being infected from Americold's surfaces was essentially ruled out.
The Herald has contacted management of the coolstore for comment.
He was originally from Tokoroa and recently returned to the Waikato town to see whanau, not knowing he had the virus.
The man was able to make video calls to family in the days leading up to his tragic death.
He was admitted to Middlemore Hospital via an emergency department from quarantine and then cared for in the intensive care unit.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement the man's family were regularly updated with the situation.
The hospital facilitated contact using virtual technologies and his wife and son were able to visit him, using full PPE.
"Our thoughts are with his family and community at this time of loss and grief," Bloomfield said.
"We have always recognised that further deaths linked to Covid-19 were possible.
"Although the health system has done and will continue to do everything we can to prevent them, this can be a very challenging virus to treat and for some people to recover from.
"Today's news reinforces the importance of our shared vigilance against Covid-19, the very serious consequences the virus can carry with it, and the measures we all need to take to stop the spread, break any chain of transmission and prevent deaths."
The man's wife expressed the family's gratitude to the Middlemore Hospital staff for their care and compassion.
The man is the first Covid-19 related death at Counties Manukau District Health Board.
The ages of the other 22 Covid-19 related deaths in New Zealand are: three people in their 60s, seven in their 70s, seven in their 80s, and five in their 90s.
The man is the first to die within the Counties Manukau District Health Board. There have been 12 deaths within the Canterbury DHB, two within Capital and Coast DHB, two in Southern DHB, four in Waitematā DHB, one in Waikato DHB, and one in West Coast DHB.
Dr Dougal Sutherland, clinical psychologist, Victoria University of Wellington and Umbrella Health, said tonight the news of the death would "likely to reinforce the anxiety that many are still continuing to experience around the virus".
"Kiwis have been quick to mask-up and many parents in Auckland have been reluctant to allow their children to return to school. The news of today's death will no doubt cement these decisions.
"A death is a tragic and sobering event, one that brings back into focus the very real health concerns our country faces, and perhaps highlighting priorities such as health over economic concerns. Hopefully today's news may also serve to remind those outside Auckland, who may have been wondering about the need for ongoing restrictions, that our battle with this virus is still very real."
Dr Christopher Gale, senior lecturer at the University of Otago's Department of Psychological Medicine expressed sympathy to the man's family.
Gale added: "We need to remember that respiratory distress from COVID is a very serious illness, and some people, sadly, will die.
"Most people who have good health manage this virus fairly well. However, for those of us with co-occurring illnesses there is greater risk. We need to care for these people: we also need to encourage everyone to continue every effort to work and care for each other.
"We cannot, inadvertently, increase anxiety and depression. There is enough loss already."
Gale said that the tragedy was another reminder that "as a community, we need to care for each other".
"Even the most simple words of encouragement right now may be more needed and meaningful."
The Prime Minister announced today that New Zealand will stay at alert level 2 and Auckland at alert level 2.5 for at least 10 more days.
Cabinet has decided to keep the current alert levels and will review them again on Monday, September 14, when they will decide whether to adjust them at 11.59pm on Wednesday, September 16.
It came as Bloomfield revealed five new cases of Covid-19. Three are in the community and two are in managed isolation.
All three cases in the community are linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Church cluster, which is linked to the wider Auckland August cluster.
The source of the Auckland August cluster, which was first announced on August 11, remains unknown.
Since then, Ministry of Health contact tracing has identified 3191 close contacts of cases, of which 3136 had been contacted and are self-isolating.