There were 17 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Sunday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with 15 of the 17 passing away inside that period.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,460.
There were a further 1,112 cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 183 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and a further 140 in Newry, Mourne and Down. There were 130 cases in Mid Ulster.
A total of 4,480 individuals were tested.
There are 703 – up 129 – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 53 – up six – of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 15 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
A total of 134 – up five – patients are in Craigavon.
There are 38 – seven more – Covid patients in Daisy Hill, with 13 – down two – in Lurgan Hospital.
Collectively, there are 188 patients in hospitals across the Southern Trust with Covid-19. To date, 1,078 patients have been discharged from hospitals within the Southern area.
The figures come as Lord Mayor Kevin Savage and Deputy Lord Mayor Kyle Savage urged people to abide by the new regulations.
They made a joint video appeal to the people of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, in direct response to the growing number of positive cases within the borough.
And Southern Trust Deputy Medical Director, Dr Damian Gormley, spoke of the huge pressures on the health service and warned of higher numbers to come as they enter the third surge of Covid-19.
Lord Mayor Kevin Savage said: “We are appealing to everyone to please support our message to stay at home to protect each other and our community at this time.
“This is serious. We are in lockdown. People are dying and our health service is under extreme pressure.
“I hear people saying things like, ‘numbers are rising. So what? It’s no worse than the flu’, and comments like this, ‘aw fake news’, on social media. I am sitting here today to tell you these rumours are not correct.
“I have spoken to health care professionals who are dealing with this virus day in and day out, and they are extremely worried as the pressures on health service escalate daily.
“Their message is clear. This virus kills.”
Deputy Lord Mayor Kyle Savage echoed those sentiments and spoke of the situation within the ABC borough.
He said: “We are deeply concerned for the people of our community, our families and our friends, because this virus is spreading at an incredible rate across our borough.
“The ABC area now has the highest growth rate of this virus in Northern Ireland and we need to stop the spread now.
“Currently one in four people tested in our borough is positive for this virus and this infection rate is growing at a worrying rate.
“We are appealing to everyone to take this lockdown seriously. Abide by the restrictions that are legally enforceable by the PSNI. Every single person’s actions count, so it is everyone’s responsibility to act now.
“Please stay at home, limit your social contacts and only go out for essential purposes, and when you do, always follow the public health guidance – keep your distance, wear a face covering and wash your hands regularly.
“Our hospital colleagues are appealing for our support as they face the third surge.”
“We need to stop the spread of this virus in our community now,” added Deputy Lord Mayor Kyle Savage.
And Lord Mayor Kevin Savage concluded: “Please stay at home to protect our health care workers and save lives in our community.”
Meanwhile, Southern Trust Deputy Medical Director, Dr Damian Gormley, has given an overview of where things are for his team.
He said the current figures within Northern Ireland “make for some very difficult reading”.
And Dr Gormley added: ” We also know that the local council areas within the Southern Trust have figures much higher than the average for Northern Ireland.
“Many of these local council areas have seen a doubling of their figures within the last one week. We also know that as the infection spreads, people will be admitted to hospital.
“We also know that during surge one the most people we had in hospital at one time was 60. This nearly doubled during surge two and as we are now entering into surge three the figures are even higher.
“We also expect those figures to increase over the next two to three weeks.”
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