Death toll rises to 1,943 as 598 patients fight COVID-19 in our hospitals
Another 12 people have died with COVID-19 in NI, the Department of Health have revealed.
Their latest dashboard confirms that the death toll in NI is now 1,943.
The dashboard reveals that nine deaths took place within the last 24 hours and three more outside that time period.
Meanwhile another 296 people have been diagnosed as having the virus in NI in the last 24 hours.
In the last seven days that figure rises to 2,921.
In total 107,163 people have been diagnosed positive in NI for COVID-19.
There are now 598 people with COVID-19 in NI hospitals - 60 of that number are being treated in ICU with the virus.
And there are now 94 active COVID-19 confirmed outbreaks in NI Care Homes.
The news comes as Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride has said people should have high levels of confidence in the Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out in Northern Ireland.
Dr McBride said anyone eligible for the vaccine should not hesitate to get protected. He said: “The Astra Zeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are protecting people from Covid-19 - and saving lives.
“They have been independently and expertly assessed as effective against the strains of the virus that are dominant in Northern Ireland and elsewhere on these islands. They have been approved for the entire adult population.
“I’m aware of a small scale study that suggests that Astra Zeneca may not be as effective against mild disease from the South Africa variant of the virus.
“Clearly, more studies will be required on the full efficacy of vaccines against all variants. But I wish to assure people here on two important fronts.
“Firstly, the South Africa variant is not dominant in the UK – indeed there have been no confirmed cases of it at all in Northern Ireland at this time.
“Secondly, while protection against mild disease is obviously desirable, the most important objective is protection against serious illness, hospitalisation and death. Any vaccine that achieves that is a successful vaccine.
“Of course, we must take the emergence of new variants seriously. We can all play our part in doing that – by taking those steps that prevent the virus in any form spreading.
“The emergence of new variants in recent months underlines once again the need for maximum vigilance.
“The roll out of the Astra Zeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines is hugely important. It gives real hope that we will get through this pandemic.
“But this is not the time to ease up or imagine that all restrictions will very shortly be a thing of the past.
“We protect ourselves against all variants of Covid-19 in the same way – that includes staying at home, working from home if at all possible, keeping our distance from others when we have to go out, washing our hands and wearing a face covering. It also includes avoiding busy confined spaces where ventilation is limited.
“The more this virus spreads, the more opportunity it gets to mutate and produce new variants. We all have a vital role in preventing it spreading.”
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