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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Three more deaths recorded for second day in a row as 1,600 cases reported

Death toll stands at 2,176

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A nurse preparing a Covid-19 vaccine. Credit: PA

A nurse preparing a Covid-19 vaccine. Credit: PA

PA

A nurse preparing a Covid-19 vaccine. Credit: PA

Three further deaths linked to coronavirus and 1,600 new positive cases have been confirmed by the Department of Health.

It marks the second day in a row that the daily update has recorded three deaths within the reporting period, with an additional three patients also in ICU beds since Tuesday.

The total deaths recorded by the department since the start of the pandemic stands at 2,176.

A further 1,600 people have tested positive for Covid-19 out of 5,216 tested over the past 24 hours.

A total of 152,696 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Northern Ireland since testing for the pandemic began.

Ten deaths have been recorded from the virus in Northern Ireland during the past seven days.

Over the past seven days 9,157 people have tested positive, down slightly from 9,306 the week before.

There are currently 244 Covid-19 inpatients in Northern Ireland's hospitals, with 32 in intensive care – a rise of three since Tuesday.

Hospital bed occupancy stands at 106%, and six facilities are over capacity.

The were 247 Covid admissions in the past week, up from 185 the previous week.

There are currently 73 active outbreaks in care homes.

By noon on Wednesday, a total of 2,224,108 vaccines have been administered in Northern Ireland including 1,201,462 first doses.

Meanwhile, migrant workers arriving into Northern Ireland via the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme will now qualify for exemptions from the Covid-19 related travel restrictions, agriculture minister Edwin Poots has announced.

The exemptions are as a result of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) submitting a request to the Department of Health.

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Pilot Scheme for 2021 will permit seasonal agricultural workers, who have an offer of employment to carry out specific activities in edible horticulture on a named farm, to claim an exemption from post-arrival testing and self-isolation when undertaking the exempt activity, if they have travelled from an amber list country.

They will be able to avail of an exemption from self-isolation while working as long as they undertake Lateral Flow Device tests on days 2, 5 and 8 following arrival.

Edwin Poots said: “I am pleased to announce that exemptions from certain Covid-19 regulations have been put in place for seasonal agricultural workers arriving in NI to work on edible horticulture farms.

"Access to seasonal workers is essential to the continued viability of the edible horticulture sector and given the relatively short timeframe of the visas, these exemptions will ensure that there is no time wasted when workers arrive here, and farms can benefit from the extra labour immediately.”

The Health Minister has also made a final plea for people to take up the offer of a vaccine before the regional centres close for first doses this weekend.

“Our vaccination centres have done a fantastic job in rolling-out the vaccination programme and will continue to administer second doses throughout August. However people will not be able to get a first dose jab at a vaccination centre after Saturday 31 July,” said Robin Swann.

“If you haven’t already received your vaccine then I would urge you to come forward ahead of Saturday. Getting your jab will never be easier or more accessible than it is right now. You do not need an appointment. You can simply turn up and receive the vaccine. This applies to all adults and anyone who will turn 18 before 31 October.

“Our health service is now experiencing the outworking of the latest surge in Covid-19 cases with a marked increase in hospital admissions and an increase in demand for critical care. Placing this level of demand on our health service is not sustainable. It’s vital that people protect themselves by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Mr Swann has also urged anyone who receives a positive test Covid-19 result to use the digital self-trace option for contact tracing.

He was speaking during a visit to County Hall, Ballymena, along with Junior Minister Gary Middleton to see at first hand the Public Health Agency’s Contact Tracing Service.

“Contact tracing is critically important, and is at the forefront of our continuing efforts to break chains of transmission and the digital self-trace option remains the quickest way to alert close contacts,” stated Mr Swann.


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