THE actual death toll in Northern Ireland from the coronavirus pandemic is a third higher than previously reported.
Up to last Friday, 10th April there had been 118 reported Covid-19 associated deaths.
However, that figure did not take into account deaths in settings other than hospital.
Adding all reported cases together, by Friday, 10th April there had in fact been 157 Covid-19 related deaths.
A total of 109 people had died in hospital up to that date, with 41 in care homes and seven at people's home addresses.
Only some of those outside hospitals had been counted on the official surveillance reports up to that date.
First Minister and Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Arlene Foster said: “The publication of this additional detail on Covid-19 related deaths across Northern Ireland provides a fuller picture of the course of the virus across our communities which will help inform the Executive’s ongoing response. But it is also extremely sad, as we learn that Covid-19 has robbed many more families of their loved ones.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost someone to this disease. We think particularly of all those who have passed away in care homes and I want to send a very clear message to their families that your precious loved ones will not be forgotten.”
Mid-Ulster MLA and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We know that older people are particularly susceptible to the devastating effects of Covid-19, and our care homes are very vulnerable at this time. Every death as a result of Coronavirus is a tragedy and it is right that we recognise every life lost to this disease. I send my sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in the most difficult circumstances.
“This new breakdown is a truer reflection of the scale of the pandemic in our community and is a poignant reminder of the need for everyone to stay at home; observe social distancing; and keep washing your hands. These actions will help to save more lives.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “The daily surveillance report published by the Public Health Agency is a vital tool, giving a timely indication of the current situation and enabling us to anticipate pressures in our health service. In addition to this, we have been working closely with NISRA to ensure we are capturing as full a picture as possible as to the impact of Covid-19 across the community and, in particular, in our care homes.
“Today’s report, which indicates that a further 39 deaths were connected to Covid-19 up to 10 April, while not unexpected is truly sobering. It reflects the cruel and heart-breaking reality of the situation we are faced with.
“Regardless of where any person passes away as a result of Covid-19; regardless of the age of that individual; and regardless of any underlying conditions they may have had, every death is just as devastating. I offer my deep sympathy to each and every person who has lost a loved one.”