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Covid-19: Hospital numbers drop over weekend as military called in to help health service

There have been 11 further Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland since Friday – three in the last 24 hours.

The total number of deaths now stands at 3,111 – 32 of which occurred in the last seven days.

The ABC Borough accounts for 418 – up one – of those deaths. There have been 236 in the NMD district, while Mid Ulster accounts for 290 – up two.

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

There have been a further 4,159 positive cases recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health’s latest daily dashboard update. There have been 29,071 positive cases in the last seven days.

There were 598 positive cases in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – still the second highest in NI. There were 345 cases in Mid Ulster while Newry, Mourne and Down recorded 417. Belfast – the highest in NI – recorded 782 positive cases.

There are 338 – down 25 since Friday – patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 23 – up one– of whom are in intensive care units.

A total of 261 Covid patients have been discharged in the last seven days while there have been 148 admissions during the same period.

Currently, there are 85 – down seven since Friday – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 52 of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital. There are nine in Daisy Hill Hospital.

There are 13 ICU beds available across Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland currently stands at 105% – down 1%.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has confirmed that its latest request for military assistance for the Northern Ireland health service has been approved.

The Health Minister said: “Our health service has been battling Covid and its numerous obstacles for two years. Whilst the recent surge in Omicron cases did not translate into the possible worst case scenario in terms of hospitalisations, it’s clear that our health service continues to be under severe pressure. Community transmission remains high which inevitably has a knock-on impact on staff sickness and self-isolation.

“Like my counterparts across the UK, I made this latest request to help support and bolster our frontline staff as they continue to navigate through this wave alongside the normal winter pressures.

“I’m grateful to the military personnel who will provide some much welcomed practical assistance to our health service in the coming weeks. I know that their presence also serves as a morale boost to our own staff who are understandably fatigued.”

Minister Swann concluded: “We all need to support our health service and its staff. With restrictions easing it’s important that we follow the public health advice to help stop Covid.

“Please get your vaccine – whether it’s your first, second or booster. Get vaccinated.”

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