An elderly care home resident in Northern Ireland has died from coronavirus.
Magdalene Mitchell’s granddaughter Jenny told BBC Radio Ulster her much-loved relative, 80, died on Tuesday, five days after falling ill.
Three deaths linked to the virus have been recorded since Tuesday, the Public Health Agency (PHA) said. Another 37 people tested positive.
It brings to seven the total deaths from the outbreak.
In Wednesday’s daily update, the PHA said there were 37 confirmed new cases of Covid-19 in the region following 383 tests
The biggest risk we have is that hospital beds and ICUs and ventilators will become overwhelmedDr Tom Black, British Medical Association
A new centre for assessing suspected coronavirus cases is opening in Londonderry in a bid to prevent hospital wards becoming overwhelmed.
The unit will be based at Altnagelvin Hospital and staffed by GPs.
Patients will be assessed in an out-of-hours urgent care building and if necessary transferred to specialist wards.
Dr Tom Black, chairman of Northern Ireland’s British Medical Association (BMA), said: “It has been shown in Italy and other countries that this is how we save lives.”
The triage service is designed for those who are moderately ill and do not need an ambulance to get to hospital.
It is the first of 13 similar centres being established in Northern Ireland, enlisting the expertise of GPs while reducing the pressure on hospital beds and intensive care units.
Dr Black said: “In about two weeks’ time the surge will be here and the needs of our patients will be overwhelming.
“This is a way of increasing the capacity of the system to deal with increased numbers, to deal with them appropriately, to try to keep them out of hospital beds.
“The biggest risk we have is that hospital beds and ICUs and ventilators will become overwhelmed.
“The Covid centres are here to try and protect those services by dealing with as many patients in the community as possible.”
Meanwhile, the families of Covid-19 patients in Northern Ireland have criticised the “selfish” actions of those failing to socially distance as the death toll reached five.
Assembly members voted on Tuesday to approve the introduction of sweeping powers to restrict people’s movement in an effort to halt the spread of the disease.
Stormont Justice Minister Naomi Long told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme on Wednesday that, as of Tuesday, there were 165 prison officers in self-isolation.
She said: “Closed communities at present are incredibly vulnerable because, once the virus gets into the prison, it will make it very difficult to stop the spread.”
Health and social care organisations in Northern Ireland have closed adult day care services from Wednesday.
This affects services including learning disability day centres, day opportunities and adult day care.
Specific arrangements will be made for those with high care needs or who are particularly vulnerable, the Health and Social Care Board said.