Two more coronavirus-related deaths and 1,299 new cases in NI

The numbers of coronavirus cases are still rising across NI. Credit: PA

Two more people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in Northern Ireland in the last 24-hour reporting period, according to the Department of Health.

The latest figures take the official total to 608, but that figure is expected to be significantly higher when deaths in all community settings have been accounted for.

There have also been 1,299 new cases recorded, out of 6,280 people tested.

In the last seven days, there have been 6,708 cases identified – including 1,665 in the Belfast area, and 1,344 in Derry City and Strabane.

There are now 213 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospital – 26 are in intensive care and 20 are on ventilators.

The latest data further shows 72 confirmed outbreaks in care homes and 10 suspected outbreaks.

The Health Minister has warned that the number of patients being treated in hospital will, in one or two weeks’ time, exceed those seen in the first wave of the pandemic, if current trends continue.

Robin Swann said cases of the virus are currently doubling every 10 days, and hospital admissions every nine days.

In his weekly update to MLAs, Mr Swann said the increase in cases “far outstripped” the increase in testing since the start of the pandemic.

He said while there are some early indications that the previous Northern Ireland-wide restrictions are starting to make an impact, the levels of prevalence “remain deeply concerning and are still among the highest in Europe”.