The headline figure in today’s Covid dashboard was 1,566 positive tests for the virus – almost double the 787 reported just two days before Christmas.
In terms of positive cases over the last seven days, the figure was 5,686, (out of 38,602 tested) up from 4,078 over the course of the previous seven days (when 41,540 were tested).
In terms of the proportion of tests coming back positive, the figures in today’s dashboard show a significant spike on Christmas Day. On December 25 in the graph labelled ‘Proportion of Laboratory Completed Tests Identified as Postive by Date of Specimen’ 22% of tests came back positive compared to 12% on Christmas Eve. The high point on that graph is April 7, when only a fraction of the numbers of people were getting tested, which shows a 38% positive rate.
Looked at across a week, a separate graph shows that on the week commencing December 21, 10% of 50,359 tests were positive compared to 8% of the 53,323 tests carried out on the week beginning December 14.
In terms of Council area breakdown of the infection rate, the dashboard shows increases across the board. Belfast has seen its infection rate, measured as the number of positive cases per 100,000 population, rise from 163 in the period December 15-21 to 249 in the period December 22-28. Derry City and Strabane has witnessed a significant rise from 217 to 410 per 100,000 across the same two seven days periods. In Mid Ulster the rate has gone from 246 to 370.
The number of deaths recorded are down considerably with 70 recorded compared to 91 on the previous seven days.
Figures for the numbers of people in Northern Ireland hospitals and the affect on capacity are also carried in the dashboard. Admissions of ‘confirmed’ Covid patients are down to 219 over the previous seven days from 267 during the seven days before that. Even though admissions are down, however, there are 34 Covid occupied ICU beds, up on 32 the previous day – which is 80% capacity. A total of 408 patients are in non-ICU Covid beds, compared to 407 the previous day – or 98% capacity.
Three hospitals are currently operating over capacity – Antrim at 5.4%; Causeway at 0.6% and the Royal at 3.6%. Total bed capacity, as of December 23, the latest figures in the dashboard, is running at 98%.
There are also 96 care home Covid outbreaks as of December 29 – ten more than seven days ago. A Trust area breakdown of care home outbreaks records that the Northern Trust, where Antrim Area Hospital is, has the largest proportion at 24% compared to the next largest of 19% in Belfast Trust. The Northen Trust has a larger number of care homes, however, at 132 (32 of which have an outbreak) compared to Belfast’s 91 (17 of which have outbreaks).
-- to www.belfastlive.co.uk