There have been three further Covid-related death reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Thursday).
All three occurred within the past 24 hours reporting period according to the official dashboard.
As it stands, the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area accounts for 285 deaths overall. Newry, Mourne and Down District accounts for 165 deaths and Mid-Ulster now accounts for 204.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department still stands at 2,140.
There were a further 116 – up four – positive cases reported in the last 24 hours with four in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the lowest in NI. There was also a further 21 in Newry, Mourne and Down and another 15 in Mid-Ulster.
A total of 3,198 individuals were tested.
There are 62 people – three more than yesterday – in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, seven – two less than Wednesday – of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently six Covid patients in southern Trust hospitals – two of whom are in Craigavon.
There are currently 26 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Naomi Long has welcomed the announcement by the Northern Ireland Prison Service that in-person visits will re-commence from May 4.
Ms Long said: “I want to pay tribute to the Prison Service and our partners for the work they have done during the pandemic to keep people safe.
“The decision to re-introduce in-person visits is to be welcomed and follows the careful approach being taken in the community to ensure the recovery is done in a safe and sustainable way.”
Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour added: “The re-introduction of in-person visits is an important step for everyone in our prisons.
“I fully understand the importance of family engagement in maintaining relationships and supporting rehabilitation. In the last year virtual visits have been hugely successful with almost 40,000 visits taking place, including on Christmas Day and that facility will continue.
“As the community went into lock down after Christmas, the decision was necessary to suspend visits. However, as the community gradually begins to open up, it is only right that we in the Prison Service take our cautious first steps towards recovery.
“We will of course remain vigilant to the risk of the virus and this decision will be kept under review. However, I know this decision will be welcome news to the people in our care and their families.”
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.