Coronavirus: Northern Ireland reports 16 further deaths

Growth in Covid-19 cases slows but hospitals under strain with ICU at 85% capacity

The emergency department entrance to the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The emergency department entrance to the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

A further 16 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland.

Another 759 tested positive for Covid-19, the Department of Health said on Monday.

The number of confirmed cases in Northern Ireland is doubling at a slower rate (43 days) over the last seven days compared with the doubling rate in the seven days before that, official analysis said.

It follows the imposition of tough lockdown measures after Christmas.

The total of Covid-19 hospital admissions in Northern Ireland over the last seven days has risen to 488, compared with 425 the previous week, the department said.

The number of inpatients at midnight was 736, compared with 722 seven days ago.

The Southern and Northern Health Trusts recorded the greatest numbers in hospital.

The number of daily admissions of confirmed cases is around double what it was at the height of the peak last spring.

Covid intensive care units are 85 per cent full.

The South Eastern Health Trust is expecting to reach the peak of the third coronavirus surge in the coming week.

As of Monday morning, there were 69 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus across its hospitals – mostly at the Ulster Hospital but also at Downe Hospital and Lagan Valley Hospital. The highest number of Covid-19 patients during the second wave of the pandemic was 73.

Most of the Covid-19 patients are in the Ulster Hospital, which offers the only intensive care unit within the trust. On Monday, there were five Covid-19 patients in intensive care and five non-Covid patients.

ICU capacity is 16, after which patients will be transferred to the Nightingale facility at Belfast City Hospital.

Director of hospital services Dr David Robinson said: “We are expecting to be at worst of this third surge, the worst of the three surges, very soon.

“We have pressures building in our inpatient wards and in critical care.” – PA