A man in his 50s in New South Wales has become the first Indigenous Australian to die of COVID-19.
The man’s death in Dubbo hospital was reported on Monday.
The Western NSW Local Health District on Monday confirmed the local man was Indigenous.
He was unvaccinated.
“A very sad and sombre day,” said Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan.
“Our sincere sympathies and thoughts go out to family, friends and the broader Aboriginal community in Dubbo and the whole of the region.”
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant would not confirm he was an Aboriginal man in announcing his death, but said he “had significant underlying health conditions”.
“I am not in a position to confirm the nature of the person who died or give out any other medical conditions without first talking to the family,” she said.
“Any death is tragic and we are particularly concerned about the case numbers in far west and western NSW because of the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people and the likelihood that COVID will be – and is touching – Aboriginal people disproportionately.”
There were 51 new cases in the western region on Monday, including 31 in Dubbo.
Another nine cases were recorded in the far west of the state, across Wilcannia and Broken Hill.
Regional NSW remains in lockdown until at least September 10.
The man’s death was reported with three others on Monday – two men in their 70s and a woman in her 60s.
The death toll for the current NSW outbreak now sits at 93.
There were 840 people in NSW hospitals with COVID-19 on Monday, when 1218 new cases were recorded.
Australia has recorded 1003 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.