Covid death toll in Northern Ireland exceeds 4,000

Another 18 fatalities related to virus reported in week to December 31st – statistic agency

The number of deaths in Northern Ireland linked to Covid-19 has now topped 4,000.

Another 18 fatalities were recorded in the week from December 25th to the 31st, according to data compiled by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

They take the total number of coronavirus-linked deaths recorded by Nisra during the pandemic to 4,024.

Of these, 2,806 (69.7 per cent) took place in hospital, 868 (21.6 per cent) in care homes, 16 (0.4 per cent) in hospices and 334 (8.3 per cent) at residential addresses or other locations.

The comparative number of deaths reported daily by the North's Department of Health to December 31st was 2,928.

The Nisra figure is drawn from different data sources and is always higher than the Department of Health’s total, as it provides a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19.

The department’s statistics focus primarily on hospital deaths and only include people who have tested positive for the virus.

Nisra obtains its data from death certificates on which Covid-19 is recorded as a factor by a medical professional, regardless of where the death took place or whether the patient tested positive.

The statistics agency reports its Covid data with a week lag.

Nisra reported that up to December 31st the deaths of 1,141 care home residents were linked to Covid-19, 29 per cent of all coronavirus-related deaths.

Covid-19 was also mentioned on the death certificate of 14 of the 243 deaths registered in the week to December 31st.

Some of the deaths registered in that week could have taken place before, as they can take a number of days to register.

People aged 75 and over accounted for 73.5 per cent of the 4,013 Covid-related deaths registered between March 19th, 2020, and December 31st, 2021.

Across the pandemic, the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, and Mid-Ulster Local Government Districts have had higher proportions of coronavirus-related deaths (12.4 per cent and 8.1 per cent respectively) compared with their share of all deaths in Northern Ireland (10.4 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively).

Meanwhile, Ards and North Down and Fermanagh and Omagh both have relatively low shares of registered Covid-19 related deaths (2.2 and 2.0 percentage points lower than their respective share of all deaths). – PA