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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: 13 deaths and 722 new cases reported as Health Minister Swann tells cynics 'just stay in the house'

  • Death toll rises to 671

  • Senior medic says NI NHS experiencing "worst week in living memory"

  • Hospital occupancy at 102%

  • Very ill patients are waiting for hospital beds, warns Health and Social Care Board

  • Scroll down to read Tuesday's coverage


Health Minister Robin Swann hit out at Covid cynics

Health Minister Robin Swann hit out at Covid cynics

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Health Minister Robin Swann hit out at Covid cynics

A further 13 people have died in Northern Ireland after contracting Covid-19, the Department of Health has confirmed.

The death toll is now 671.

Each of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours.

A further 722 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 35,554 since the pandemic began.

There are 360 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 38 patients in intensive care.

Thirty-three Covid-19 patients are currently ventilated.

There are 105 outbreaks at care homes in Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland is now sitting at 102%.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has urged people who do not believe Covid-19 poses a real threat to "stay in the house".

He also said that anyone who believes the virus is a hoax is "deluded".

"I have a very simple message: I would ask them just to stay in the house, stay out of the road, because if they think this is a hoax, talk to a nurse, talk to a doctor, talk to a hospital porter, talk to someone who is currently working across our health service or a care home to see the reality of what Covid actually means," he told the BBC.

"If they think this is some sort of a great hoax that has been manipulated across the world, never mind just here in Northern Ireland, they are deluded."

It comes as the Health and Social Care Board warned that our hospitals are currently under "significant pressure" with healthcare staff struggling to cope with the second Covid-19 wave.

The board said on Tuesday morning that "very ill patients are waiting for hospital beds" and asked patients who are deemed fit to be discharged to a community setting to accept a bed offered to them by Trusts and for their families to support the discharge.

The Northern Trust said there is currently 33 people waiting for a bed at Antrim Area Hospital.

Patients have been asked not to attend the A&E department unless they require urgent medical attention.

Dr Tom Black, of the British Medical Association told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme that the NHS is being hit with a "triple whammy", with huge numbers of staff off sick, winter pressures and a pandemic to deal with.

He said: "I have had dozens of emails, text messages and phone calls over the last 24 hours from doctors throughout the five trusts. The demand for capacity has reached a crescendo where we are now starting to exceed the capacity of hospitals to cope with this."

He added: "To be frank it is the worst I have seen in my 35 years career. That would be the same for all doctors in NI. We have never seen anything like this. This is the worst week for the NHS in living memory and it looks likely next week will be even worse."

Dr Black said NI has a "very difficult" month ahead.

Check out our live blog below to see how Tuesday's developments unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph