There have been no further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Thursday).
According to the official dashboard there were a further 326 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours with 12 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the lowest in NI. There were 35 in Newry, Mourne and Down while Mid-Ulster District recorded 18.
A total of 2,551 individuals were tested.
There are 21 people in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, two of whom are in an intensive care unit.
There are five Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, four of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital, the other in St Luke’s, Armagh.
There are currently 18 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department remains at 2,155.
The Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area accounts for 285 deaths overall. Newry, Mourne and Down District accounts for 168 deaths while Mid-Ulster has registered 206 deaths.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the advice on Covid booster vaccinations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The interim advice from JCVI is to plan to offer booster vaccines from September 2021 to maintain protection given by first and second doses.
The Minister said: “Today’s announcement by JCVI is welcome news which allows us to plan a booster programme for early autumn.
“The huge success of the vaccination programme in Northern Ireland is undoubtedly saving lives and is key to delivering a roadmap out of the pandemic. The booster programme will provide additional protection for our most vulnerable and will help protect our health service ahead of the winter months.”
The final JCVI advice will be published before September and will take into account the latest epidemiological situation, additional scientific data from trials such as Cov-Boost, real-time surveillance of the effectiveness of the vaccines over time and emerging variants. The final advice could change from the interim advice as further data is analysed.
The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Michael McBride said: “Booster vaccines will prolong the protection already offered by first and second doses and provide an additional advantage in the fight against Covid.
“Whilst final advice may change, we can now plan and prepare so that our preparations are complete and our programme is ready to adapt and deliver in the autumn.”