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Ten further Covid-related deaths as Health Minister calls for military support to ‘alleviate’ pressure

There have been ten further Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours – one of which occurred outside the reporting period.

One of those deaths occurred in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough with another in the Mid Ulster District.

According to the official dashboard, there were a further 1,239 – an increase of 168 – positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 137 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the second highest in NI. There were 108 positive cases in Newry, Mourne and Down while Mid-Ulster District recorded 114. Belfast had the highest with 207.

A total of 5,990 individuals were tested in that time.

There are 419 – down six – people in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 38 – no change – of whom are in intensive care unit.

There are 109 – down one – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 80 of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital. There are 10 patients in Daisy Hill and 15 in South Tyrone Hospital.

There are currently 16 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

The total number of deaths now stands at 2,493.

Hospital occupancy currently stands at 103% – down 3% – of capacity.

The Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area accounts for 337 deaths overall; Newry, Mourne and Down District accounts for 191 while Mid-Ulster has registered 236 deaths.

Meanwhile, The Department of Health confirmed that a further request for military assistance for the Northern Ireland health service has been made by Health Minister Robin Swann.

The Health Minister said: “Our health service is under pressure as never before.

“I am determined to activate any measure that can alleviate the situation in any way.

“The current situation is different to the pressures in the earlier stages of the pandemic. We have the ongoing and serious Covid threat combined with a growing pressure cooker environment right across health and social care.

“Staff are exhausted, having been facing the pandemic and its repercussions day in, day out, month in, month out, for the best part of two years.

“I am deeply concerned about the pressures they are facing. I say this to them directly – please be assured of the heartfelt support and gratitude from me as Minister and from the people of Northern Ireland. Thank you for your ongoing work and dedication and for going far, far beyond the extra mile.

“I am very well aware of just how tough it is. The system simply doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the levels of need and demand coming in.

“Strenuous efforts are being made to mitigate the pressures and to plan for winter.

“We all need to support our health service and its staff. Please do everything you can to stop Covid spreading.

“Please get your vaccine – first and second doses. Getting vaccinated is the single most important thing you can do for the health service and its staff as we face into winter. Every vaccine jab is another brick in the defences of our health service.”

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