NI statistics agency says Covid death toll over 2,000

The coronavirus-linked death toll in Northern Ireland has passed 2,000, according to the Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra), which provides a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19 than the death toll reported by Stormont’s Department of Health.

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 in which Covid-19 is recorded as a factor by a medical professional, regardless of where the death took place. The person may or may not have tested positive for the virus.

While the departmental death toll stood at 1,533 yesterday, Nisra has reported coronavirus as a factor in 2,019 deaths that occurred up to 8 January.

The statistics agency reports its Covid-19 data with a week lag.

It found that 103 Covid-19-linked deaths occurred in the week 2-8 January.

The comparative total number of deaths reported daily by the Department of Health stood at 1,438 on 8 January.

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Nisra said 7 January also saw the joint highest number of deaths, 25, in one day during the pandemic. That toll was also recorded on 9 and 22 April last year.

Of the 2,019 deaths recorded by Nisra by 8 January, 1,247 (62%) occurred in hospital, 622 (31%) in care homes, 12 (0.6%) in hospices and 138 (7%) at residential addresses or other locations.

The 634 deaths which occurred in care homes and hospices involved 149 separate establishments.

Nisra also provides an analysis around the total number of care home residents who have died, whether in their home or in hospital, having been transferred for treatment.

Up to 8 January, the deaths of 802 care home residents were linked to coronavirus, 180 of which occurred in hospital.

Care home residents make up about 40% of all deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

In the week 2-8 January, 145 coronavirus-linked deaths were officially registered in Northern Ireland, some of which occurred before that week as deaths can take a number of days to register.

While this was the highest number of deaths registered in one week since the outset of the pandemic, Nisra said delays in registering deaths due to the Christmas period may have been a factor in that.