Coronavirus: NI's weekly Covid-related death toll falls again

By Louise Cullen

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image copyrightJane Barlow/PA Media
image captionNisra counts coronavirus mentions on death certificates, while the department's toll is based on tests

There has been another fall in the weekly number of Covid-19-related deaths registered in Northern Ireland.

The virus was mentioned on 78 death certificates in the week to 19 February, said the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

That is a decrease of 21 on the previous week's toll of 99.

It is also the fourth consecutive week that the number has fallen since the record high of 182 reported on 22 January.

It takes Nisra's total of Covid-19-related registered deaths to 2,751.

On Friday, the Department of Health reported two further deaths in the past 24 hours - its figures are based on a positive test result being recorded. It brings its total death toll to 2,050.

Recorded mentions of the virus on death certificates, where it may or may not have been confirmed by way of a test, is the reason why Nisra's figures are higher than that recorded by the department.

There are currently 335 in-patients being treated for Covid in hospitals across Northern Ireland, of which 36 are in intensive care and 29 are ventilated.

The department recorded 241 new cases of the virus on Friday.

On Friday, Nisra said there have been 1,802 Covid-19-related deaths in hospitals, including the deaths of 230 care home residents.

Taking that figure, and the 753 who died in care homes, it means care home residents account for just over a third (35.5%) of all Covid-19-related deaths.

Covid-19-related deaths were also recorded in hospices (0.5%) and other residential locations (7.2%).

Deaths in care homes and hospitals involved 176 separate establishments.

People aged 75 and over account for just over three-quarters of all Covid-19 related registered deaths (76.8%) between 19 March 2020 and 19 February this year.

That proportion has been decreasing in recent weeks.

Seven local government districts have had a higher proportion of all Covid-19-related deaths compared with their share of all deaths.

Mid-Ulster had the highest proportion of Covid-19-related deaths (7.9%) relative to its share of all deaths (6.4%) in Northern Ireland.

The provisional number of deaths from all causes for the week ending 19 February was 352.

That is 30 fewer than the previous week and 41 more than the five-year average for the time of year which is 311.

Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland a further 29 Covid-related deaths and 776 cases were reported on Friday.

A total of 4,300 coronavirus-related deaths and 218,251 cases have now been confirmed in the country since the start of the pandemic.

During the height of the third wave of Covid-19 hospital admissions last month, military personnel were deployed to hospital wards in Northern Ireland to help alleviate pressure on health staff.

On Thursday, Northern Ireland's chief nursing officer confirmed that 110 combat medical technicians involved in the deployment were returning to their military duties this week.

Prof Charlotte McArdle told the Stormont Health Committee that the medics, who worked as senior nursing assistants at three hospitals, had been a "welcome addition" to support nurses but were being withdrawn.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: "I simply want to thank sincerely all of those 110 military personnel who came forward and helped us at a critical time here in Northern Ireland - huge thanks to them."

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