There were nine further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Friday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with all nine passing away inside that period.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,975.
Of those deaths, the ABC Borough accounts for 261 – up three; Newry, Mourne and Down District 152 – no change – and Mid-Ulster with 181 – also up three.
There were a further 407 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 59 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the second highest in NI. There was a further 35 in Newry, Mourne and Down and 53 in Mid-Ulster.
A total of 2,514 individuals were tested.
There are 488 – down 30 – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 58 – no change – of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 33 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
A total of 145 – a decrease of 13 – Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area with 83 in Craigavon; 28 in Daisy Hill; 27 in Lurgan; none in South Tyrone; and seven in St Luke’s.
Meanwhile, people in Northern Ireland who received a shielding letter because they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to Covid-19 will be able to book their vaccination appointments, the Department of Health has announced.
The appointments will be available at the seven regional vaccination centres across the province.
Telephone booking will be available from next week. Some slots for the weekend are already available for online booking from today.
Production of the shielding letters will be required at the centres to confirm eligibility.
Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme is rolling out through a twin track approach involving the regional vaccination centres and GP practices.
GPs are vaccinating those aged 70 plus, while the vaccination centres are also vaccinating 65 to 69 year olds.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I am sure this news will be very welcome to all those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and have been looking forward to getting vaccinated.
“A start has already been made on the CEV category and offering booked appointments will help to accelerate this.
“I would again appeal to everyone to be patient – whether that’s waiting on the line to book your vaccination appointment by telephone or waiting your turn in the vaccination programme.
“We will get to everyone – the programme is steadily advancing and is making good progress.”
Booking online is available at: https://covid-19.hscni.