Health Minister Robin Swann has announced he will establish a second Nightingale Hospital in Northern Ireland in time for winter.
Mr Swann said the facility at Whiteabbey Hospital would provide an extra 100 beds and would relieve pressure on the health service as it faces the "toughest winter in its history".
The region previously saw a Nightingale facility opened at Belfast City Hospital.
The UUP MLA said that he was increasingly of the view that Covid-19 has the potential "for another full scale assault".
It comes after the Department of Health confirmed a further two deaths and 71 new cases of the virus on Wednesday.
Mr Swann said the deaths were "devastating news" that proved the virus was still lethal.
He said further deaths would follow and people would serve long term health damage from the virus, but that this could be eased if the public follow health advice.
The Health Minister said his department was finalising a new Covid-19 surge strategic framework for dealing with the next peak of infections and winter pressures.
Health department data shows the deaths on Wednesday were of a man and woman aged over 80.
The man from the Mid and East Antrim council area died on September 1 in hospital, while the woman passed away in a care home in Co Down on August 28. There can often be a delay in registering deaths.
There have now been 7,365 positive cases in NI since the outbreak. The death toll is 562.
There are currently 20 patients in hospitals with the virus, with three in intensive care.
Check out our blog below to see how Wednesday's developments unfolded: