Health Minister Robin Swann has informed the Northern Ireland Assembly that a Level Three Serious Adverse Incident investigation will be undertaken over the Covid-19 outbreaks at Craigavon Area Hospital.
The Minister made the announcement after chairing discussions about the latest situation at the hospital. The meeting involved senior officials from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, the Public Health Agency and the Department of Health.
The Southern Trust has confirmed that a fourth patient who was treated on the Haematology Ward at Craigavon Hospital, and who had tested positive for Covid-19, sadly passed away on Monday morning.
Mr Swann stated: “I said on Friday that a thorough investigation is required and that patients and bereaved families are entitled to answers.
“I can now confirm that a Level Three Serious Adverse Incident review will be initiated. This will be independently chaired and I expect its findings to be made public.
“I also want to again express my deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who have passed away. I am deeply sorry that families have been plunged into grief in such disturbing circumstances.”
The Minister said the Southern Trust’s immediate priorities are to care for affected patients and staff and prevent further spread of the virus.
The announcement comes as the Department of Health also confirmed that a further person died from Covid-19 in Northern Ireland at the weekend, while 141 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours.
The death of man, aged between 60-79, occurred on Saturday at Mid and East Antrim Hospital. It brings the official death toll from the virus in the province to 565.
In the past 24 hours 6,992 tests have been carried out on 4,652 people. The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 7,868 since the pandemic began.
Over the past seven days 639 people have tested positive for Covid-19.
In the past week the Belfast council area has seen 212 new cases, while Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon has seen 80.
There are currently 12 Covid-19 patients in Northern Ireland's hospitals with two in intensive care units.
Hospital bed occupancy is at 85%, while 13 intensive care unit beds remain free.
A total of 1,574 people have been released from hospital after recovering from Covid-19.
There are currently 19 ongoing outbreaks of the virus in care homes across Northern Ireland.
It comes after Hospitality Ulster called for "urgent" action to reopen bars in Northern Ireland that don't serve food.
The call came as representatives of the industry body are set to meet ministers at Stormont later on Monday as the Executive reconvenes from summer break.
Chief Executive Colin Neil said establishments unable to reopen are losing "thousands of pounds weekly", and may never reopen if action isn't taken soon.
"What we need to see are regulations that apply to everybody in the hospitality sector regardless of business type or licence type," Mr Neil told the BBC.
"Let everyone open and anyone who is irresponsible, shut them.
"Let's get all our pubs open and then it's about enforcing the regulations on anyone that ignores them."
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