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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: 88 new cases of Covid-19 after reports of staff testing positive at Daisy Hill Hospital

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Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan

Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

The Department of Health has confirmed 88 new cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland over the past 24 hours.

There have been no further deaths due to the virus, with the death toll remaining at 568.

In total 8,123 people have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. On Thursday 8,142 tests were carried out on 4,691 people.

Over the past seven days 577 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, with 174 in the Belfast council area and 76 in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

There are currently 17 Covid-19 inpatients in Northern Ireland's hospitals, with 1 in an intensive care unit.

Hospital beds are currently at 88% occupancy, while 13 intensive care unit beds remain free.

Since the start of the pandemic 1,587 people have been discharged from hospital after recovering from the virus.

In Northern Ireland's care homes there are currently 22 active outbreaks of Covid-19.

It comes as SDLP MLA Justin McNulty expressed concern after reports of positive Covid-19 cases among medical staff at Daisy Hill Hospital.

The Newry and Armagh MLA said he had been contacted by staff within the Newry hospital and advised that two members of a medical team within a ward had tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr McNulty said the staff members involved were now off work and self isolating.

It follows three separate outbreaks of the virus at Craigavon Area Hospital.

The SDLP MLA said he was concerned "there are some members of staff on the same ward and indeed patients and their families who have not been advised of this development".

"I understand that no extra cleaning of the ward or wards concerned has taken place. When staff raised concerns, I am told they were advised that they were ok because they were wearing PPE," Mr McNulty said.

He said he had spoken with Southern Trust Chief Executive Shane Devlin who advised him on the process the trust has followed.

"I was advised that staff, patients or the public do not need to be informed or traced where they came into contact with the staff members who tested positive if the staff member was suited out in PPE at the time," Mr McNulty explained.

"This is concerning and I believe it could add to the anxiety and confusion in our community. I would have thought it would have been prudent and reassuring to test all staff and patients who the staff members came into contact with whether they were wearing PPE or not.

“It has since been announced that visiting relatives in Daisy Hill has now been suspended. I know that some staff feel let down and they are scared."

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