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Another 17 coronavirus deaths reported in Northern Ireland

It takes the total number of confirmed deaths in hospital settings in the region to 193.

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(Peter Byrne/PA)

(Peter Byrne/PA)

(Peter Byrne/PA)

A further 17 people in Northern Ireland have died in hospital settings with coronavirus in the past day, the Public Health Agency said.

It takes the total number of confirmed deaths in hospital settings in the region to 193.

Another 148 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the PHA added, taking the total to 2,486.

The full death toll is likely to be higher after official statistics published on Friday showed the figures were around a third higher than previously reported.

The disparity is due to differences in how the statistics are gathered.

The latest figures were published as a union claimed a significant number of nurses, including some in the most high-risk environments, have felt pressure to work with inadequate protection.

High-risk environments include areas where patients with or suspected of having Covid-19 are treated on ventilators.

More than two-fifths of nurses surveyed in Northern Ireland (42%) who are treating patients in such areas reported being asked to reuse protective equipment marked as single use by manufacturers.

Of those treating Covid-19 patients elsewhere, over a third (38%) said they were being asked to reuse.

Pat Cullen, director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Northern Ireland, said: “We all know that nursing staff have been under enormous pressure during this pandemic, however it is shocking to find that nurses are feeling pressurised to work without the protection they need.”

The findings are from a survey conducted by the RCN to provide a snapshot of PPE shortages over the Easter weekend.

Health chiefs in Northern Ireland say they have secured millions of items from international and local suppliers.

PA