Covid-19: 22 further virus-related deaths announced in NI

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Twenty-two more Covid-19-related deaths have been announced in Northern Ireland on Saturday.

It brings the total number of deaths recorded by the Department of Health since the start of the pandemic to 1,581.

A further 705 cases were also announced by the department on Saturday.

Sixty-two Covid patients are currently in intensive care in Northern Ireland's hospitals, with 45 being ventilated.

There are 840 Covid hospital inpatients.

The figure of 705 new cases might rise, however, as the Department of Health reported a technical issue with some of the data.

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In the Republic of Ireland, 60 more Covid-related deaths were announced on Saturday, of which 59 occurred in January and one in December.

There has now been a total of 2,595 Covid-19 related deaths in the Republic.

'The virus has taken root'

The Irish Department of Health also announced 3,231 confirmed cases of the virus.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said Covid-19 levels remained "far too high".

"This virus has taken root in every single part of the country. A significant percentage of the population - in excess of one in 10 in some counties - is currently either a case or a close contact. This is a huge burden of infection," he said.

"When you consider that a significant percentage of our daily cases will directly lead to hospitalisation and mortality, the urgency with which we need to act becomes clear," he said.

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