A further 1,430 coronavirus cases have been recorded by the Department of Health as the number of patients in intensive care has again risen.
It’s understood the Executive has given the go ahead for two further relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions but has delayed final decisions on a series of other planned moves.
The PA news agency understands that from Monday a cap limiting the number of households allowed to participate in 15-person outdoor gatherings will be removed while close contact services will also be able to accept walk-in customers from Monday.
Ministers have agreed to meet again on Monday and Thursday next week to consider whether to press ahead with other relaxations that had originally been earmarked for next week.
It comes after 1,973 new cases were recorded on Wednesday - one of the highest figures so far this year.
There are currently ten patients with Covid with five on ventilators in intensive care units, up from eight in hospital with three on ventilators on Wednesday. In total, there are 162 Covid inpatients, having again risen from 134 on Wednesday.
Six hospitals are operating over capacity with hospital occupancy at 102%. 3,103 hospital beds are occupied of 3, 042 total beds. There are 45 active care home outbreaks.
No further deaths were reported, with the death toll remaining at 2,166 after two deaths were recorded on Wednesday.
There have been 9,372 cases confirmed in the last seven days compared to 4,818 in the previous seven days, although testing has also increased with 83,713 tested compared to 74,174 in the previous seven days.
There have been 174 hospital admission in the past week, compared to 108 in the previous seven days.
A total of 144,863 people in Northern Ireland have had a confirmed diagnosis of the virus since testing in the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, an update to the vaccine dashboard has been delayed due to a technical difficulty.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 2,184,162 Covid-19 vaccines had been administered in Northern Ireland. Of those, 1,188,669 were first doses and 995,493 were second doses.