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Further fall in number of Covid-19 care home deaths in Northern Ireland

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The number of coronavirus-related deaths at care homes in Northern Ireland has fallen again, official figures show. (Joe Giddens/PA)

The number of coronavirus-related deaths at care homes in Northern Ireland has fallen again, official figures show. (Joe Giddens/PA)

The number of coronavirus-related deaths at care homes in Northern Ireland has fallen again, official figures show. (Joe Giddens/PA)

The number of coronavirus-related deaths at care homes in Northern Ireland has fallen again, official figures show.

It is in line with a continued overall drop in fatalities here.

A total of 74 deaths linked to Covid-19 were registered in the week to May 15. Around half (32) of these occurred in care homes. That represents a drop from 38 in the week to May 8, and 72 in the week before.

Separately on Friday, the Department of Health announced three more deaths, bringing its total to 504.

However, as this data does not include most deaths outside hospitals, it is an underestimate.

Other figures published weekly by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra), based on registered deaths, are more complete.

The latest Nisra bulletin, released on Friday, shows:

  • 664 deaths mentioning Covid-19 on the death certificate had occurred here as of May 15.
  • The comparative number of deaths reported by the Department of Health to May 15 was 472, a difference of 192 (40%).
  • Of the 664 deaths recorded by Nisra, 322 (48.5%) occurred in hospital, 303 (45.6%) in care homes, six (0.9%) in hospices and 33 (5.0%) at residential addresses or another location.
  • The 309 deaths in care homes and hospices involved 76 separate establishments.
  • The 74 deaths registered in the week to May 15 represented a third consecutive weekly fall. In the previous two weeks, 84 and 124 deaths had been registered.
  • As of May 15, the 75 years and over age-group accounted for 79.3% of virus-related deaths.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency has published its first monthly report on the key trends and characteristics of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

It details how over a quarter (28.4%) of our 483 care homes have had an outbreak ­- where two or more residents and/or staff with confirmed or suspected symptoms.

The report also details how the virus has spread in all settings here.

Up to May 15 there were 4,469 laboratory-confirmed cases, with 61% of total cases being female. Around 28% of total cases reside in the Belfast area.

The PHA said the surveillance will help inform the ongoing response to coronavirus.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: "Throughout this pandemic there has been an understandable focus on statistics and percentages, and I have always been determined to ensure that there is the maximum possible transparency.

"The data helps us to track and understand the virus and its impact both on the community and the health and social care system.

"The statistics also tell a human story of how the virus has left its tragic mark on families and communities who have lost loved ones.

"The valuable and detailed analysis contained within the monthly bulletin will help us to develop our plans for the vital recovery period as we start to re-engage our health and social care services."

Professor Hugo Van Woerden, director of public health at the PHA, said: "Coronavirus is a global issue having a local impact on everyone's lives.

"While the primary focus to date has been the significant effort to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives, we are now at a point where we can start to examine the particular ways it is affecting people living in Northern Ireland and our health service."

Belfast Telegraph