The children of New Zealand's first coronavirus death also lost their father last year.

Anne Guenole, in her 70s, has been identified as the first Covid-19 related death in this country.

She died yesterday morning at Grey Base Hospital, in Greymouth, after it was first thought she had a strain of the flu.

Her death comes just a few months after her husband, Peter Guenole, died unexpectedly last August. He was in his 80th year.

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A family notice at the time said the couple were the parents of three, and grandparents and great-grandparents to 6.

It is understood the family are well-respected within the community and run at least one local business.

They are now trying to work out exactly how their mother and grandmother became infected.

However, Guenole is said to have had an underlying chronic health condition.

As a result of Guenole's positive test and subsequent death, up to 21 staff at Grey Base Hospital are now in isolation as a precautionary measure.

A total of 514 people in New Zealand are now either a confirmed or probable case of Covid 19 as of yesterday, authorities said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday called Guenole's death "devastating" and acknowledged how that again showed the gravity of the situation right now.

"Today's death is a reminder of the fight we have on our hands," Ardern said.

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"Stay at home, break the chain and save lives."

Anne Guenole, in her 70s, died at Grey Base Hospital (pictured) yesterday morning after testing positive for Covid 19 on Saturday. Image / Google
Anne Guenole, in her 70s, died at Grey Base Hospital (pictured) yesterday morning after testing positive for Covid 19 on Saturday. Image / Google

Grey District mayor Tania Gibson also paid tribute to the woman and her family - and acknowledged how the heartbreaking news had also impacted the local community.

"It's come as a big shock to our community," Gibson said.

"Our thoughts do go out to the family."

Gibson said she had heard stories of people who were not following the lockdown rules and were increasing the sizes of their isolation bubbles.

People needed to obey the rules "now more than ever", she said.

"It's brought it all home to everybody that this is very serious."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website
- additional reporting, Otago Daily Times