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NI's Covid death toll falls to its lowest since early last autumn

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Official figures published yesterday show that the 10 fatalities in the week ending on April 2 was the lowest total since October 9. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Official figures published yesterday show that the 10 fatalities in the week ending on April 2 was the lowest total since October 9. (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Official figures published yesterday show that the 10 fatalities in the week ending on April 2 was the lowest total since October 9. (Liam McBurney/PA)

The weekly Covid-19 death toll has hit its lowest figure in Northern Ireland since early autumn last year.

Official figures published yesterday show that the 10 fatalities in the week ending on April 2 was the lowest total since October 9.

It brings the total recorded by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) to 2,919.

The number of Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health yesterday rose to 2,125 after a further two deaths were recorded and 113 new cases.

The department's statistics focus primarily on hospital deaths and only include people who have tested positive for the virus, while NISRA data provides a broader picture.

NISRA obtains its data from death certificates on which Covid-19 is recorded as a factor by a medical professional, regardless of where the death took place or whether the patient tested positive. The statistics agency reports its Covid-19 data with a week lag, and in contrast to its latest figure of 10, the department's equivalent death toll was 2,116 on April 2 - 803 lower than NISRA's.

Of the 2,919 Covid-related deaths recorded by NISRA, 1,920 (65.8%) took place in hospital, 770 (26.4%) in care homes, 14 (0.5%) in hospices and 215 (7.4%) at residential addresses or other locations.

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The agency reported that up to April 2, the deaths of 1,006 care home residents were linked to Covid-19.

The figure included 770 in care homes and 236 residents who died in hospital having been moved there for treatment.

Care home residents make up about 35% of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, according to NISRA.

Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate of 12 (4.2%) of the 288 deaths registered in the week ending April 2, a decrease of seven from the previous week.

Yesterday it was reported that a total of 1,895 tests had been carried out in the previous past 24 hours, bringing the total tested here to just over 898,000, with 118,032 found positive.

In all, there have been 553 new cases in the past seven days, down on 841 from the previous week, while deaths over the same period have fallen by one, from nine to eight. Yesterday, there were 99 people in hospital with Covid-19 and 10 in intensive care. Five care homes were dealing with an outbreak.

Latest health official statistics show that 987,819 vaccines have been administered here, 806,005 of which were first doses and 181,814 were second doses.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 variants that have been worrying scientists do not appear to be rising in popular European destinations, UK advisers have said.

While Covid infection rates are still high in countries such as Spain and France, levels of, for example, the South African variant, are staying pretty constant and are not going up, according to scientists advising the Government.

The Kent variant is now so prevalent in many European countries that there is currently no advantage for other variants, and so they are not particularly rising. Although there are pockets where variant cases appear to be high, they are still only accounting for around 5% of cases or fewer.

Experts believe variants may not become such a problem, depending on what measures countries such as Spain and France take to lock down now.


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