There were two further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Saturday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with both passing away inside that period.
One of these was within the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area and the other within the Mid-Ulster District Council area.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 2,052.
Of those deaths, the ABC Borough accounts for 276; Newry, Mourne and Down District at 160; and Mid-Ulster with 193.
There were a further 184 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 28 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the second highest in NI. There was a further five in Newry, Mourne and Down and 15 in Mid-Ulster.
A total of 1,336 individuals were tested.
There are 307 – 28 less than yesterday – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 36 of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 38 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
A total of 97 – 11 less than yesterday – Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area – with 46 in Craigavon; 12 in Daisy Hill, 34 in Lurgan, five in St Luke’s, Armagh and none in South Tyrone.
The figures come as Health Minister Robin Swann reiterated his advice to people to adhere to the guidelines at this crucial time with the words: “Enjoy the weekend but keep yourselves and others safe.”
He added: “The fight against Covid-19 is moving in the right direction, thanks to efforts of people across Northern Ireland.
“Every one of us can help ensure that this progress is not stalled, and that we can all get to a better place as quickly and safely as possible.
“There is some good weather forecast and Spring is nearly here. Exercise has proven benefits for mental and physical health and we also know that outdoors brings fewer Covid-19 risks than indoors.
“Nevertheless, it is not risk-free, so I would again urge everyone to maintain social distancing from others and stay local if they are heading outdoors.
“Avoid busy places, indoors and outdoors. If somewhere you are planning to visit is busy, go elsewhere.
“Covid-19 does not take weekend breaks so we must all stay on our guard.”
The Minister this week launched a new campaign to help promote distance awareness. The campaign uses the Distance Aware Shield symbol to help remind people to maintain a social distance.