Coronavirus: NI deaths fall for sixth week in a row

By Jayne McCormack
BBC News NI Political Reporter

  • Published
Doc tests virus in tubeImage source, Reuters

Covid-19 related deaths in Northern Ireland have fallen for the sixth consecutive week, figures show.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) has published its latest statistical bulletin.

By last Friday, it recorded 779 deaths in total. 20 deaths were registered in the week ending 5 June, it said.

NI's Department of Health, which releases daily figures, had recorded 537 deaths in total - more than 200 fewer - by the same date.

The daily numbers mostly reflect hospital deaths and where patients had tested positive for the virus, whereas Nisra's weekly figures cover all fatalities in which coronavirus has been recorded on the death certificate.

On Friday, the Department of Health reported a further one person with coronavirus had died, bringing its total to 539. There have been 16 new confirmed cases.

Nisra figures also show that care home residents have accounted for more than half (51.9%) of Covid-linked deaths in Northern Ireland.

Of those deaths, 334 (82.7%) occurred in a care home, but 70 people whose usual address was in a care home died in hospital.

The bulletin also states that deaths in care homes are falling, with four (21.1%) of the 20 deaths recorded in the week ending 5 June occurring in care homes, down from 27% the previous week.

The report says of the 779 deaths it recorded in total by 5 June, 334 (42.9%) occurred in care homes; 395 (50.7%) occurred in hospital and eight (1%) occurred in hospices.

Residential addresses or another location are recorded as being the site of 42 deaths (5.4%).

The deaths in care homes and hospices involved 78 separate establishments, Nisra reported.

People aged over 75 accounted for almost 80% of all Covid-19 related deaths in Northern Ireland.

The latest figures from Nisra also include a breakdown of all Covid-19 related deaths by council area.

Of the 11 councils, Belfast has recorded the most deaths, 228, while Fermanagh and Omagh has registered the fewest deaths, at 16.

Where Northern Ireland stands in the UK

Meanwhile, figures separate from Nisra, suggest Northern Ireland's rate of Covid-19 deaths was the lowest of the four UK nations in March and April.

The figures have been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK's largest independent producer of official statistics.

The ONS figures for March and April show that England had the highest rate of Covid-19 deaths, with 363.8 deaths per 100,000 population.

Scotland followed with 319.5 deaths per 100,000 population.

Wales, had 289.3 deaths per 100,000 population.

The lowest UK rate for the two months was in Northern Ireland, with 185.9 deaths per 100,000 population.

Northern Ireland's excess deaths

Nisra said the total number of all deaths registered in Northern Ireland in the week ending 5 June was 304; falling from 316 in the previous week - but still higher than what would be expected at this time of year.

The corresponding five-year average death rate in Northern Ireland is 271.

Nisra said there had been 973 "excess deaths" registered in Northern Ireland over the last 10 weeks.

This measure captures all deaths caused by the coronavirus - the infections that were confirmed and feature in the daily figures, as well as the suspected cases that were mentioned on the death certificate.

It also captures the deaths caused indirectly by the pandemic, such as people who died because of the strain on hospitals and care homes or by the effects of the lockdown.