There has been a huge spike in positive Covid cases across Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours.
According to the official dashboard there were a further 1,083 – up 447 on Wednesday’s figure – positive cases reported in the last 24 hours with 70 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. There were 145 in Newry, Mourne and Down – second highest in NI behind Belfast (304) – while Mid-Ulster District recorded 35.
A total of 3,582 individuals were tested in that time.
There are 80 people in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, two of whom are in an intensive care unit.
There are 12 Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 11 of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital, the other in St Luke’s, Armagh.
There are currently 14 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department is 2,159 – an increase of three in the last week.
The Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area accounts for 286 deaths overall. Newry, Mourne and Down District accounts for 169 deaths while Mid-Ulster has registered 206 deaths.
Meanwhile, the deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill said she cannot predict an end date for using face coverings in Northern Ireland.
“In terms of face covering issue here, we take our own advice make our own decisions,” she told the Ulster Herald. “We are going to discuss it at executive on the 12th of August but I don’t see an end date at this stage or I couldn’t even predict an end date at this stage in terms of the mandatory wearing of face coverings.”