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Five more coronavirus deaths as Northern Ireland's pandemic toll passes 500

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The coronavirus death toll in Northern Ireland has passed 500, according to official figures

The coronavirus death toll in Northern Ireland has passed 500, according to official figures

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The coronavirus death toll in Northern Ireland has passed 500, according to official figures

The coronavirus death toll in Northern Ireland has passed 500, according to official figures.

New data suggests the actual number of fatalities linked to the virus remains a third higher than is reported on a day-to-day basis.

Five more deaths were announced by the Department of Health yesterday.

Earlier, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) released its weekly bulletin.

It is a wider analysis, including deaths outside hospital that are generally not counted in the government's daily update.

Yesterday's data looks at fatalities that occurred up to last Friday, May 1. It found:

  • 516 deaths mentioning Covid-19 on the death certificate occurred to May 1;
  • the comparative number of deaths reported by the Department of Health to May 1 was 383 - a difference of 133 (34.7%)
  • of the 516 total deaths, 253 (49%) occurred in hospital; 232 (45%) were in care homes, four (0.8%) in hospices and 27 (5.2%) were elsewhere, including residential addresses; and
  • more than 700 'excess deaths' occurred here over a five-week period.

There are key differences in the way the Department of Health and Nisra gather their figures.

The department's figures, published daily, count deaths reported by health trusts where the deceased had a positive test for Covid-19 and died within 28 days, even when the virus was not the cause of death.

Nisra's figures are based on death registration information, and count all deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, even if it was not the primary underlying cause of death.

Yesterday's Nisra bulletin shows how Northern Ireland's death rates have climbed in recent weeks.

The provisional number of deaths registered here in the week ending May 1 was 427 - 107 more than the five-year average of 320.

During the last five weeks, 704 excess deaths - those above the average for the corresponding period in previous years - have been registered. In the week to May 1, a total of 124 deaths mentioning Covid-19 on the death certificate were registered ­­- 29% of all deaths that week.

In the Irish Republic, it was announced yesterday that 27 more people have died from Covid-19, bringing its death toll to 1,429.

Across the UK, there have been 31,241 UK coronavirus-related fatalities in all settings.

Belfast Telegraph