Friday, May 29, 2020

By Press Association

Care home residents account for more than half of all coronavirus-related deaths in Northern Ireland, official statistics show.

Of the 380 deaths of care home residents involving Covid-19 in the year to May 22, 84% (318) occurred in the home, with the remaining 62 taking place in hospital.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) publishes a weekly bulletin on the toll caused by the infection.

It said: “Deaths of care home residents account for 53.1% of all Covid-19 related deaths.”

Its latest statistics cover the week ending May 22.

They show 47 deaths occurred in the week from May 16 to 22, bringing the overall total to 716.

This total includes deaths registered up to May 27.

Of this total, 353 (49%) took place in hospital, 318 (44%) in care homes, eight (1%) in hospices and 37 (5%) at residential addresses or other locations.

The 326 deaths in care homes and hospices involved 76 separate establishments.

Health Minister Robin Swann has said testing of all residents in care homes for the virus will be complete by the end of next month.

The Department of Health has said there are 69 active care home outbreaks and 52 clusters have been closed.

Last week Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast was ordered to close after the watchdog Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority raised concerns about how it was handling coronavirus.

Nisra obtains its statistics using death certificates in which Covid-19 is mentioned as a cause.

It is unrelated to daily death totals published by the Department of Health which focus mainly on hospital deaths in which a patient has tested positive for the virus.

The Department of Health’s reported death toll rose to 521 on Friday after a further three fatalities were reported.

There were another 17 confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the total number of positive tests since the outbreak began to 4,696.

The total number of all fatalities in Northern Ireland recorded by Nisra in the week ending May 22 was 325, 35 above the five-year average.

Around a quarter were classified as respiratory, and all Covid-related have been included in that classification.

The number of Covid-19 related deaths in the calendar year which were registered by May 22 was 705.

Some deaths that happened in the days leading up to May 22 were registered after that date, so the total number of deaths that occurred during the period is slightly larger at 716.

The week ending May 22 represents the fourth consecutive weekly fall.

Men and women accounted for similar proportions in the calendar year to May 22.

Those with a Belfast address were responsible for 30% of Covid-19 deaths this year.

Fermanagh and Omagh had the fewest number at 16 so far this year.

Belfast recorded the highest at 209.

The 75 and over age group was responsible for four fifths of Covid-19 deaths, greater than their proportion of overall deaths.

Mr Swann said: “Every one of these statistics represents a person who was loved and is sadly missed. We must always remember that.

“While the death rate in Northern Ireland continues to decrease, Covid-19 is still a very real threat.

“Everyone must keep following public health advice on social distancing and hand washing.”

Over the last eight weeks, 902 “excess deaths” (those above the average for the corresponding week in previous years) have been registered in Northern Ireland, Nisra said.

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