There were 22 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Saturday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with 17 of the 22 passing away inside that period.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,581.
There were a further 705 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 167 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – once again the highest in NI – and a further 95 in Newry, Mourne and Down. There were 78 cases in Mid Ulster.
A total of 2,742 individuals were tested.
There are 840 people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 62 of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 30 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
A total of 234 – down two – Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area; 167 in Craigavon; 50 in Daisy Hill; 17 in Lurgan and none in South Tyrone.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has warned that the health service “facing unparalleled pressures” and staff “are already exhausted and traumatised”.
He said: “The time lag between people getting Covid and needing hospital treatment means our hospitals are now dealing with the consequences of the spike in infections in previous weeks and sadly we are also seeing this bear out in the number of deaths reported.
“The pressures will continue throughout this month and beyond.
“Every one of us can help carry the health service through this. That means staying at home and doing all those things that stop the virus spreading. Keep following the restrictions and the public health advice – our health workers are relying on you.
“In addition, please use health service responsibly and appropriately.
“Of course, if you need medical attention, please do not delay in seeking it. Get immediate help if you have chest pain, stroke symptoms or other emergency conditions.
“Using services responsibly means not going to a hospital Emergency Department if your case is not an emergency.
“If you are medically fit to be discharged from hospital, then that needs to happen as soon as possible. Someone else will need that bed.”