A 91-year-old man has died at Port Macquarie Base Hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The tragic news was confirmed by a spokesperson from NSW Health on Sunday, April 5. The man was a passenger on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.
It's the first recorded death in the Port Macquarie-Hastings.
Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said the man had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, before being admitted to Port Macquarie Base Hospital where he passed away on Saturday, April 4.
"The Mid North Coast Local Health District offers its sincere condolences to the man's family and friends," Mr Dowrick said.
"To ensure the privacy of the family, no further details will be provided."
Four people have died of coronavirus overnight in NSW, taking the state's death toll to 16 and the nation's death toll to 34.
NSW Health authorities confirmed the fatalities at a press conference on Sunday (April 5).
NSW Health's Executive Director of Health Protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty said the deceased were all men aged 91, 80, 79 and 61.
Dr McAnulty passed on his condolences to the families of those who died.
"It just reinforces that message that the elderly and people with underlying diseases are most prone to severe complications, intensive care and death," he said.
Dr McAnulty said three of the men contracted the disease overseas.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said a criminal investigation will be launched to into how the cruise line operator Carnival Australia was allowed to disembark the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney.
As of April 6, 11 people on board the ship have died of COVID-19.
Meanwhile confirmed COVID-19 cases for the Port Macquarie-Hastings have risen to 29 as of 8pm April 3 as the region's total tops 48 on the Mid North Coast.
Six of the 29 confirmed cases in the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area have an "unknown source of infection". They are identified as "locally acquired" and public health investigations and case interviews are ongoing in these cases.
The first case reported in Port Macquarie on March 19, a 14-year-old student from St Columba Anglican School, has made a full recovery. All 60+ known contacts of the student self-isolated and have also been given the all-clear.
Mid North Coast Local Health District is contacting close contacts of the new cases, who are asked to self-isolate for 14 days from last contact.
They will be contacted daily to check that they are well and anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms will be tested for the virus.
The District has opened a COVID-19 assessment clinic at Port Macquarie Base Hospital. Clinics also opened in Coffs Harbour and Kempsey. Call 1300 001 956 for details.
"These clinics are for those most at risk with respiratory symptoms or fever, those returning from overseas or in contact with a COVID-19 case, and local health workers," Mr Dowrick said.
"People without symptoms do not need to be tested.
"The District is asking everyone in Mid North Coast to play a part in containing the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, covering coughs and sneezes, maintain social distance and staying home if you're unwell."
The Port Macquarie clinic is open from 10am to 4pm weekdays. Patients are asked to present to the emergency department where they will be assessed and directed to the clinic as required.
For further health advice, visit the NSW Health website.
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