There were 17 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Tuesday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with nine of the 17 passing away inside that period.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,878.
The ABC Borough accounts for 241 – up two – deaths; NMD 137 – an increase of one; and Mid-Ulster with 165, also up one.
There were a further 447 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 104 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the highest in NI. There was a further 35 in Newry, Mourne and Down and 52 in Mid-Ulster.
A total of 2,381 individuals were tested.
There are 716 people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 66 of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 33 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
A total of 203 Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area – eight less than yesterday – with 151 in Craigavon; 28 in Daisy Hill; 24 in Lurgan and none in South Tyrone.
Meanwhile, Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced a new £3m scheme to help micro-business retailers develop their sales online. The scheme will open to applications tonight (Tuesday).
The Covid-19 Micro-business Ecommerce Grant has been developed by Invest Northern Ireland to help retail micro-businesses grow their business online.
It follows on from the success of Invest NI’s Covid-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant.
The Minister said: “The ongoing restrictions and current closure of our high streets means that many businesses need to pivot to online selling. For micro-businesses this can be a big step and this grant will help those with some basic online presence to develop this into a full online retail solution. In doing so the scheme will support these smaller retailers to develop and grow their customer base and find new markets.”
Micro-sized retailers are those employing fewer than 10 people, with retail premises and which derive the majority of their turnover from retail customers.
Some of the eligible activities covered by the scheme include engaging the services of a supplier to review your current digital marketing capabilities and online sales channels, develop an e-commerce strategy, develop or enhance your e-commerce website or online presence to drive increased sales or to help improve the digital marketing and e-commerce capability of the employees in the business. Full details on criteria, eligibility and how to apply are available on nibusinessinfo.
The scheme will open to applications at 6pm tonight, Tuesday 2 February 2021.
The call for applications will close at 6pm on Friday 12 March 2021.
Full details on criteria, eligibility and how to apply are available at https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.