Care home residents have accounted for more than half of Northern Ireland’s coronavirus-related deaths, new figures have shown.
The NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) released its weekly bulletin on Friday.
For the period up to 22 May, it recorded a total of 716 deaths including 380 who were care home residents.
It said 318 of those deaths had occurred in the home and 62 had occurred in hospital.
Meanwhile in its daily update, the Health Department recorded a further three coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to date to 521.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Every one of these statistics represents a person who was loved and is sadly missed.
“We must always remember that.”
The Health Department's figures, which mainly record hospital deaths, included one new death which occurred in the past 24 hours and two from outside that recording period.
NISRA’s figures count all deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
They showed 47 deaths occurred in the week from 16 to 22 May, bringing the overall total number of deaths to 716.
Of this total, 353 took place in hospital, 318 in care homes, eight in hospices and 37 at residential addresses or other locations.
The 326 deaths in care homes and hospices involved 76 separate establishments.
“New analysis provides deaths of care home residents in hospital,” the NISRA bulletin went on to explain.
“It shows that of the 380 deaths of care home residents involving Covid-19 in the year to date to 22 May, 83.7% occurred in a care home.
“Deaths of care home residents account for 53.1% of all Covid-19 related deaths.”
The health minister has said testing of all residents in care homes for the virus will be complete by the end of next month.
The Department of Health has said there are 69 active care home outbreaks and 52 clusters have been closed.
“While the death rate in Northern Ireland continues to decrease, Covid-19 is still a very real threat,” said Robin Swann.
“Everyone must keep following public health advice on social distancing and hand washing.”
In the Republic of Ireland a further six deaths linked to coronavirus have been recorded, bringing the total there to 1,645.