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Covid-19: Cases remain high but hospital numbers drop by over 100 in seven days

There have been four further Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours.

The total number of deaths now stands at 3,115 – 29 of which occurred in the last seven days.

The ABC Borough accounts for 419 – up one – of those deaths. There have been 236 in the NMD district, while Mid Ulster accounts for 290.

The ABC borough has recorded six deaths in the last seven days, while Newry, Mourne and Down reported one. There have been three in Mid Ulster.

There have been a further 4,622 – up 463 – positive cases recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health’s latest daily dashboard update. There have been 28,366 positive cases in the last seven days.

There were 663 positive cases in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – still the second highest in NI. There were 357 cases in Mid Ulster while Newry, Mourne and Down recorded 439. Belfast – the highest in NI – recorded 939 positive cases.

There are 337 – down one – patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 21 – down two – of whom are in intensive care units.

A total of 259 Covid patients have been discharged in the last seven days while there have been 151 admissions during the same period.

Currently, there are 85 – no change – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 56 – up four – of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital. There are eight – down one – in Daisy Hill Hospital.

There are 12 ICU beds available across Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland currently stands at 104% – down 1%.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has paid tribute to GP practices as their involvement in the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme is brought to a close.

Boosters will continue to be widely available from Health Trust vaccination centres and mobile clinics, and community pharmacies.

“The delivery of our vaccination programme has involved an unprecedented effort across the HSC system,” the Minister said.

“GP practices have played an absolutely vital and central role, administering close to 1.4 million vaccine jabs in total, including over 530,000 booster doses.

“In paying tribute to their contribution, I want to emphasise that this mass booster programme has undoubtedly saved lives and protected many people from hospitalisation.

“While direct GP involvement in administering jabs is now concluded, GPs will continue to encourage their patients to get vaccinated and get boosted whenever they come in routine contact with them.”

The Minister again encouraged those who have not come forward for their boosters or first or second doses to do so without delay.

“While we are continuing to make progress against the virus, we must not underestimate the risk it still poses for people and for our health service,” he continued. “The evidence is very clear – getting all three jabs is the best way to protect yourself and others.

“Boosters and first and second jabs continue to be widely available at Health Trust vaccination centres, at localised Trust pop-up clinics and at community pharmacies.

“While we want to keep giving citizens every opportunity to get their jabs, the current arrangements for adults cannot keep going indefinitely. The likelihood is that the Trust vaccination centres will continue to be scaled back in terms of hours and opening days, as resources are increasingly directed towards localised pop-up clinics in different neighbourhoods.

“In terms of convenience and widespread availability going forward, there will not be a better time to get vaccinated than now.”

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