There have been 12 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Friday).
Nine of these occurred in the last 24 hours, with three outside that timeframe – according to the official dashboard – which has the overall total now at 974.
There have been two further deaths in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough, where the total number of lives lost is now 106. There has been one additional death in the Newry, Mourne and Down district, where the total stands at 61.
There were a further 391 cases reported in that timeframe, with 38 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and a further 26 in Newry, Mourne and Down.
A total of 2,878 individuals were tested.
There are 425 people now in hospital – that’s six less than yesterday – as a result of the virus, 37 of whom are in intensive care units – down two from yesterday.
There are currently 17 ICU beds available in NI – two less than yesterday.
Forty-nine patients are in Craigavon today – no change. To date, 597 patients have been discharged from the Co. Armagh hospital.
There are nine Covid patients in Daisy Hill, with 11 in Lurgan Hospital.
Meanwhile, Economy Minister Diane Dodds has welcomed the publication of guidance for users and providers of click and collect services during the circuit breaker.
The guidance is for consumers and businesses alike and provides a framework to allow the Executive agreement for a controlled click and collect service for retail to operate during the two-week circuit breaker beginning on Friday.
Click and collect facilities will be permitted to operate on an appointment-only basis with maximum mitigations in place.
Welcoming the invaluable support provided by the representative bodies across the retail sector, Economy Minister Diane Dodds commented: “Helping retailers provide a range of services to citizens via click and collect during the period of the circuit breaker is hugely important to customers, workers within the retail sector and our broader society.
“The publication of this guidance will help business owners and customers ensure they are operating safely and within Northern Ireland legislation.
“It is crucial we protect the retail sector, while reassuring customers that businesses are operating safely and optimising technology, and minimising the risk of spreading Covid-19.
“I appreciate many smaller independent businesses have faced an immediate challenge in to switching to digital and/or telephone ordering. I encourage everyone, where possible, to support the retail sector by using click and collect, and shopping locally to minimise travel. It is by working together we can help to reduce the threat of Covid-19 and sustain the local economy.”
The Minister added: “My Department has worked closely with the retail sector representative bodies and public bodies in ensuring the advice offered in the guidance is both practical and adheres to public health recommendations. However given the varying size and nature of the retail businesses within this sector, each retailer will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of their business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.”
You can view the guidance in full here.