There were 16 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Thursday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with 13 of the 16 passing away inside that period.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,533.
There were a further 973 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 197 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the highest in NI – and a further 97 in Newry, Mourne and Down. There were 113 cases in Mid Ulster.
A total of 3,596 individuals were tested.
There are 850 people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 58 of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 30 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
A total of 247 Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area; 170 in Craigavon and 57 in Daisy Hill; 17 in Lurgan and three in South Tyrone.
The executive is due to review the current restrictions on 21 January.
Meanwhile, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey today announced a further £2.75 million for councils under the Covid-19 Community Support Fund to allow them to support the voluntary and community sector response to the continuing hardship created by the pandemic.
The funding boost will support local grassroots organisations across council areas working with individuals and communities during the pandemic to target need and alleviate poverty by:
– providing assistance to those on low income and at risk due to financial stress
– supporting access to food for those most in need
– helping to connect those living alone or in a rural and border area that are likely to experience challenges in accessing services
Minister Hargey said: “Our local community sector continues to be at the frontline of the response to this pandemic. Councils, through their community development programmes, will work with the Department to direct the funding to those community sector organisations who are responding to need on the ground.”