Tasmania has recorded a sixth coronavirus death since reopening borders in mid-December, a 68-year-old man who lived in aged care.
Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the man, who died on Wednesday after recently testing positive, had significant medical conditions and had been in palliative care for several weeks.
“Losing a loved one irrespective of the circumstances is a very sad time for all family members,” he told reporters.
Tasmania has recorded 19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, the majority during an outbreak in the northwest in early 2020.
The state documented 656 new infections on Thursday, with seven people receiving treatment for COVID-19 in hospital. Two of them are in intensive care.
Six positive cases are in hospital for unrelated medical conditions.
The state has had new cases in the 600s for three days in a row. This follows 504 reported infections on Monday.
There are 3782 known active cases statewide, continuing a downward trend over several weeks.
Tasmanian public school students will return to the classroom on February 9.
The state government says all schools will receive back-to-school packs, containing rapid tests and masks, by the end of the week to distribute to each student.
The Labor opposition has raised concerns the packs won’t be available quickly enough.
For example, Education spokesman Josh Willie said Lansdowne Crescent Primary School in Hobart planned to distribute tests to students once school resumed.
“These kits are the critical tool in keeping our school community safe,” he said.
Mr Rockliff, who is acting eduction minister while Sarah Courtney is on leave, said Lansdowne Crescent Primary School had updated its pack distribution plans and would hand them out to students from Monday.
Ms Courtney has copped criticism from opposition parties in recent days over her decision to holiday overseas amid back-to-school preparations.
Premier Peter Gutwein on Wednesday revealed Ms Courtney had contracted COVID-19 and was in isolation in France but was expected to return before term one began.
Mr Gutwein said it was “perfectly appropriate” for ministers to take a break.