A man in his 90s has died of Covid-19 in Waikato Hospital.

The man was linked to the Matamata cluster and had been admitted to hospital on Saturday in an unwell condition.

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He had been living in the community and was cared for by his family until that point.


On Wednesday Waikato District Health Board said it had three Covid-19 patients in Waikato Hospital, all in stable but varying conditions.

None were in the intensive care unit.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said the pensioner was one of two more deaths from Covid-19 yesterday, taking the total number of deaths to 11.

McElnay said the man's family could not be with him in hospital but he was supported by healthcare professionals when he died.

The other death was a woman in her 80s from the Rosewood rest home cluster in Canterbury, who died at Burwood Hospital, bring the total number of deaths from the rest home to seven.

Waikato DHB chief executive Kevin Snee said the death of the man in his 90s was the first Covid-19-related death for the Waikato community.

He said the Waikato resident was diagnosed with Covid-19 earlier in the month and admitted to hospital over Easter weekend on April 11.

Snee said staff at Waikato Hospital provided support to the man and his family to care for him during his final days.


"Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones who are bereaved at this time," he said.

"We understand their loss and the added strain that loss in this context must entail.

"The family say that the care he received at Waikato Hospital was wonderful and the family are truly grateful."

Snee said the family had asked for privacy.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said during questioning at Friday's daily briefing, he could not imagine the difficulty of not being with a loved one when they died.

"It is a heartbreaking time for those people. These are the sacrifices New Zealanders are making so that we are making the progress we are. My sympathies go out to them."


Asked if these restrictions would relax under alert level 3, Robertson said the Government had been working on policy around compassion for the dying during lockdown.

There were eight new confirmed cases of Covid-19 today, taking the total in New Zealand to 1409.

Those results came from 4241 tests processed yesterday. More than half of the confirmed cases had now recovered.

The Matamata outbreak occurred after a St Patrick's Day party at the Redoubt Bar and Eatery before the Government banned indoor gatherings, and nine days before the lockdown began.

The cluster is the third biggest in the country behind a wedding in Bluff with 96 confirmed cases and Marist College in Auckland with 92 cases.

Matamata's cluster spawned 75 infections, and now one death.


The party went ahead the day after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced gatherings of more than 500 people would be banned.

Two days earlier she made the decision that all visitors to the country would need to self-isolate for 14 days.

It was a few days after the party that a staff member at the bar began to feel sick.

Located in the main street of Matamata, the bar attracts tourists who have been to visit nearby Hobbiton, one of the original sets for the Lord of the Rings movie.

The Redoubt shut on March 23 ahead of the lockdown on March 26. By the next day the party had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus.

A community-based assessment centre had to be set up in Matamata to deal with the cluster after many people were driving to Te Aroha to get tested.


Waikato District Health Board later admitted some of the confirmed cases in the cluster were linked to the testing centre.

Meanwhile testing has been expanded to include anyone with respiratory symptoms.

The Waikato region now has mobile testing clinics along with two other regions; Canterbury and Queenstown.

In the Waikato there was now testing of asymptomatic supermarket-goers in Ōtorohanga, Hamilton, Matamata, Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

The targeted testing was being carried out to determine the level of community transmission.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website