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Seven further Covid-related deaths as Health Minister warns of ‘most difficult winter ever experienced’

There have been seven further Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland over the past 24 hours.

The total number of deaths now stands at 2,646 – 364 –up one – of which have occurred in the ABC borough, 200 in the NMD district, and 248 in Mid Ulster.

There have been a further 1,355 – up 296 – cases recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health’s latest daily dashboard update.

There were 231 positive cases in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the second highest in NI. There were 99 cases in Newry, Mourne and Down, while Mid-Ulster recorded 104. Belfast – the highest in NI – recorded 247 positive cases.

A total of 3,871 individuals were tested in that time.

There are 358 – up one – people in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 33 – down one – of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 78 – down five – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 53 – down five – of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital. There are eight ICU beds available across Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland currently stands at 106% – down 1%.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has updated the Assembly on the pressures facing health and social care services this winter and the planning being undertaken in preparation.

The Minister issued a Written Ministerial Statement, accompanying the publication of Health Trusts’ integrated winter and surge delivery plans and Trust activity projections.

He told MLAs the Health and Social Care System is “most likely facing into the most difficult winter ever experienced”, adding: “Over this summer and into the autumn, the Northern Ireland hospital system has consistently been operating above capacity, with many patients waiting on trollies for admission. This situation is unheard of during the summer months and is an indication of the scale of unscheduled pressures likely facing the HSC system this winter.”

The statement to the Assembly sets out a wide range of measures to support the HSC system through this winter. It also highlights additional funding committed by the Minister.

This includes:

  • £16.5 million in-year funding to support the No More Silos initiative to reduce pressures on urgent and emergency care, taking the total funding to £21.2 million this financial year;
  • £31.5 million to support elective care already secured through June Monitoring and an additional £30 million bid tabled in the October Monitoring round;
  • £12 million in-year funding to further support our social care sector.

These funding allocations are in addition to Covid-related funding sought through in year monitoring and the £5.5 million in-year and funding announced last week to support GP services this winter.

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