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Coronavirus toll in New Zealand now at 17

New Zealand health authorities admit they may never know the source to the country’s most deadly COVID-19 cluster, which claimed a 10th victim overnight.

A man in his 60s with underlying health conditions linked to the Rosewood rest home in Christchurch has died, bringing the nationwide toll to 17.

Officials are yet to trace the person who brought the deadly virus to the aged care facility.

“That’s still under investigation and that’s one of the reasons why there’s been widespread testing of staff and patients at Rosewood,” Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay said.

“It can be challenging in some situations to say exactly who the index case is … we are usually able to say we know who this person is.

“What can be a little bit challenging has been to say how that person acquired their infection.”

A group of 20 Rosewood residents with dementia were relocated to a ward at Burwood hospital after contracting COVID-19. Eight have since died.

Two others have died within the hospital wing at the rest care facility itself.

Local reports suggest dozens of local nurses and health care workers have contracted COVID-19 in the area, including from the Rosewood cluster.

The Ministry of Health website states the cluster has spread to 50 people, with 11 recovered to date.

“Each death from COVID-19 is a person who was loved and whose family are dealing with grief in the most trying circumstances,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

An investigation will take place into the Rosewood cluster.

New Zealand health officials announced five fresh cases on Friday, bringing the country’s number of infections to 1456.

Originally published as Coronavirus toll in New Zealand now at 17

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