One further coronavirus-related death and 98 new cases in Northern Ireland

One further patient has died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

One further death of a patient who tested positive for Covid-19 has been reported in Northern Ireland.

It means the official death toll as recorded by the Department of Health stands at 2,144, although that figure is expected to increase significantly when deaths in all community settings have been accounted for.

The latest figures also show there have been 98 new positive cases, out of 2,353 individuals tested.

In the last seven days, there have been 643 positive cases.

There are currently 60 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospitals across Northern Ireland – eight of them in intensive care and three on ventilators.

There are also four confirmed and active outbreaks of Covid-19 in care homes.

On Wednesday Health Minister Robin Swann said new guidance that will facilitate increased visiting in care settings is being finalised. Guidance is being updated for visiting in hospitals (including maternity), hospices and care homes. 

The guidance is expected to be published imminently and will take effect from next week.

The Health Minister said: “I fully recognise the desire for more visiting. Receiving a face-to-face visit from a loved one is so important to people who are unwell, elderly or vulnerable.

"Of course, we also have to remain vigilant about the continuing threat from the virus and strike the right balance.”

Earlier the Minister also announced a further expansion to the current asymptomatic testing programme for workforces, with all organisations with 10 or more employees or volunteers who cannot work from home able to access the service.

Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme has now been fully rolled out to all those aged 35 and over.