Saturday, December 4

Covid-19: Health officials investigate the death of a person while isolating himself at home

Health officials are investigating the death of a person who had Covid-19 and was isolated at his home in Auckland.

The Director General of Health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, during the Covid-19 and vaccine update in Parliament on September 29, 2021.

General Director of Health Dra. Ashley Bloomfield.
Photo: Pool / NZME / Mark Mitchell

The person tested positive for Covid-19 on October 24 and had self-isolated in Manukau.

They were found by a relative who visited them on Wednesday.

The Health Ministry has said the cause of death is unknown and that the forensic doctor will determine if it is due to the virus or something else.

Chief Health Officer Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said there was no indication at this stage that they needed additional support, but a formal investigation was underway.

“We received a notification late yesterday afternoon from the police, who had been called by a relative who found this deceased person, and that is a tragic situation.

“At this stage we do not have more information, but we have a very formal investigation protocol that we started to see what could have happened from a health perspective and we will work with the police.”

He understood that the person was isolating himself at home.

Because it was an unexplained death, she would be referred to the coroner, Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield said a daily record is standard procedure for those who isolate themselves at home.

“For most people, that will just be through electronic comments, an email that they will send with information about their symptoms. If an email is not received, they will follow up with a phone call.”

On whether the person was getting all the help they needed or had asked for more help, Bloomfield said they had no further information about it and there was no indication at this stage whether the person was high risk.

The first assessment of a person with Covid-19 is a “complete process” to find out what support they need and the potential risk to themselves or others, he said.

That was the point at which health officials found out if the person has access to emails or needs phone calls.

“There are a variety of options available to anyone isolating themselves at home.”

I was hoping to give more information about today, even if the person was a high-risk person.

“It still doesn’t make sense if the death is related to Covid or another cause,” he said.

Manurewa / Papakura Ward Councilor Daniel Newman said it would be a very distressing time for the person’s family.

“We want to make sure that those people who are positive for Covid, and whānau who are affected by that diagnosis, receive all the support they need in a community, obviously, that is complex in terms of the broader economic and social challenges we face.

“Most people in New Zealand will face a Covid outbreak in their community with a total vaccination coverage of around 80 or 90 percent.

“My community in Auckland faced it with vaccination coverage of around 20 percent.”

Northern region

Bloomfield said the home and workplace contacts of Northland’s two unexplained cases had so far yielded negative results.

They remained in isolation, and it is still possible that they will test positive in the next few days.

Part of the Far North is at alert level 3 until at least Monday because the cases in Taipā have no known epidemiological or person-to-person link to any other Covid-19 cases.

Bloomfield was still waiting for the results of the genome sequencing in the initial case, but he hoped to have that today.

“It may or may not help us identify the origin of the case,” he said, and interviews and other work continued.

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