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Further 21 Covid-related deaths as Health Minister proposes extending NI lockdown until March 5

There were 21 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 16 of the 21 passing away inside that period.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,692.

There were a further 732 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 167 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the highest in NI  – and a further 71 in Newry, Mourne and Down. There were 86 cases in Mid Ulster.

A total of 2,958 individuals were tested.

The rolling seven day average continues to drop at a steady rate.

There are 806 people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 70 of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 33 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

A total of 199 Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area; 146 in Craigavon; 21 in Daisy Hill; 30 in Lurgan and two in South Tyrone.

Today’s figures comes as reports circulate that the Health Minister, Robin Swann, is proposing extending Northern Ireland’s lockdown restrictions until March 5.

This would effectively mean a further month on top of the six weeks muted originally, which was due to come to an end on February 6.

We are currently almost four weeks into the current lockdown.

The Executive are meeting today to discuss a number of matters, including the use of trained military personnel at several hospitals in a bid to alleviate pressures.

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