NISRA puts Covid-related death toll at 896

Restrictions are in place across NI to try to limit the spread of coronavirus. Credit: UTV

Nine deaths involving Covid-19 recorded last week have brought the death toll in Northern Ireland to 896, according to the NI Statistics and Research Agency.

NISRA records data differently to the Department of Health, basing its figures on the information entered on death certificates completed by medical professionals.

The Department of Health bases its data on patients having tested positive for Covid-19.

The comparative number of deaths reported by the Department of Health up to 18 September was 575.

In the last 24-hour reporting period, the Department of Health has recorded 273 new cases of Covid-19, but no new deaths – leaving its official toll at 577.

It is the highest number of new cases recorded in one 24-hour period.

While testing has been stepped up, the percentage of positive results has significantly increased.

In early July, when there were three or four new cases a day, less than 0.5% of tests were positive.

The latest 273 new cases were detected from 7,410 tests – a 3.7% positivity rate.

In the last 10 days, testing has remained steady at around 20/1000 people per week, while cases have almost doubled.

The latest figures bring the total number of infections to 10,223 – including 1,236 in the last seven days.

Of the 896 deaths recorded by NISRA, 53.5% happened in hospital, 40.8 in care homes, 0.9% in hospices, and 6% at residential addresses or other locations.

The 363 deaths that occurred in care homes and hospices involved 84 separate establishments.

Deaths of care home residents, either in care homes or after being transferred to hospital, account for 48.7% of all Covid-19 related deaths – however, no assumptions can be made in relation to where or when they contracted the virus.

Over the last 25 weeks in total, 1,181 ‘excess deaths’ (deaths above the average for the corresponding period in previous years) have been registered in Northern Ireland.

According to NISRA, people aged 75 and over have accounted 79.1% of Covid-19 related deaths registered this calendar year up to 18 September.