Further drop in number of Coronavirus deaths in NI care homes

By Rebecca Black, PA.

There has been a further drop in the number of coronavirus-related deaths at care homes in Northern Ireland.

61 Covid-19-related deaths occurred during the week ending May 15, down from 80 in the previous week and 119 in the week before that, according to figures compiled by the Northern Ireland Statistical and Research Agency (Nisra).

Most (32) occurred in care homes, which represents a drop from 38 the previous week and 72 in the week before.

Of the remaining deaths, 27 were in hospitals, one in a hospice and one at a residential address.

The 309 Covid-related deaths in care homes and hospices involved 76 separate establishments, Nisra said.

According to its figures there have been 664 Covid-19-related deaths in Northern Ireland so far.

The comparative number of deaths reported daily by the Department of Health for the same period was 472.

These figures are based on mainly hospital patients having previously tested positive for the virus, whereas Nisra figures relate to information entered on death certificates, completed by medical professionals.

They may or may not have previously tested positive for the virus.

The latest figures from Nisra recorded similar numbers of men and women with Covid-19-related deaths while the 75 years and over age group account for 79.3% of those deaths.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has published its first monthly report on the key trends and characteristics of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

It reveals that up to May 17, there had been 4,469 laboratory-confirmed cases.

The report also reveals that testing swabs taken between December 27 and March 12 did not produce any positive results, which the PHA said indicates the virus was not circulating undetected in Northern Ireland before the first case was confirmed at the end of February.

Health Minister Robin Swann said he hopes the monthly report will "ensure that there is the maximum possible transparency" around coronavirus.

"The data helps us to track and understand the virus and its impact both on the community and the health and social care system," he said.

"The statistics also tell a human story of how the virus has left its tragic mark on families and communities who have lost loved ones.

"The valuable and detailed analysis contained within the monthly bulletin will help us to develop our plans for the vital recovery period as we start to re-engage our health and social care services."

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