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Number of Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland drops but 'further spikes likely'

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Warning: Robin Swann

Warning: Robin Swann

Warning: Robin Swann

One person in Northern Ireland was critically ill with Covid-19 yesterday, while a further 10 people were diagnosed with the virus.

The latest official figures have offered some hope that the spread of Covid-19 here is not spiralling out of control.

It comes after figures released on Sunday revealed a significant rise in the number of Covid-19 cases here, with the Department of Health revealing that 119 people had tested positive over the previous 24 hours. It was the highest daily rise in cases since early May.

It followed grim warnings from the Health Minister last week that Northern Ireland was in danger of losing its grip on the coronavirus.

A number of fresh restrictions were put in place yesterday as a result, as health officials battle to control the number of people falling ill with Covid-19.

Figures released by the Department of Health show that 10 people had been diagnosed with Covid-19 over the previous 24 hours. It brings to 6,776, the number of confirmed cases here so far.

There were no further deaths announced yesterday but it emerged that one person had been transferred to intensive care. Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 positive inpatients across Northern Ireland had dropped from 10 to nine.

It is thought the drop in newly diagnosed cases from 119 on Sunday to 10 yesterday is as a result of the discovery of a number of clusters.

A health service source said peaks and troughs in the figures are "not unexpected" and demonstrate that Northern Ireland's Test Trace Protect system is working efficiently.

However, they warned that further spikes are likely.

According to the figures released yesterday, 1,765 people were tested over the previous 24 hours, resulting in the 10 positive cases. The number of people who have tested positive over the last week stands at 359.

Mid and East Antrim and Belfast have had the highest number of positive cases over the last week, with 95 and 76 cases confirmed respectively.

There were also nine active care home outbreaks yesterday, according to the latest figures.

There are concerns that, as the number of cases of Covid-19 increase, residents of care home residents are more likely to become seriously ill or even die from the virus.

Last week, Health Minister Robin Swann was forced to defend the decision to reimpose lockdown measures, including the closure of a food manufacturing plant that had been hit by a cluster.

Speaking at a press conference to announce new measures Mr Swann said his experts have warned him to expect a rise in the number of hospital admissions in coming weeks to coincide with the increase in cases.

He said: "The reason we have nobody in ICU at this minute in time is because the last patient we had in ICU passed away. He didn't get up and recover and walk out, so let's not use these stats without forgetting that there's people and families behind it. Are we overreacting? I want to be in a place where we don't have to go to another family and tell them they have lost a loved one to Covid-19.

"So, am I overreacting? No. I want to make sure the people of Northern Ireland are supported and protected."

Belfast Telegraph