More than half of coronavirus victims were care home residentsby CLAIRE SIMPSON
Care home residents made up more than half the number of coronavirus deaths in Northern Ireland, accoring to new figures.
By last Friday, 380 care home residents had died from the disease - around 53% of the 716 deaths recorded.
Of the 380 deaths, 318 people died in a care home while the remaining 62 residents died in hospital.
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The figures were released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) this morning.
The body records all deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on a death certificate.
Daily death figures released by the Department of Health mainly cover coronavirus fatalities in hospital.
The number of deaths from coronavirus has fallen for the fourth week in a row, the Nisra figures show.
The week of April 24 saw the highest number of coronavirus deaths recorded, with 128 deaths.
A total of 53 coronavirus deaths were recorded last week, ending on Friday May 22.
Of the 716 deaths Nisra recorded by May 22, 353 (49.3%) happened in care homes; 318 (44.4%) happened in hospital and eight (1.1%) happened in hospices.
Thirty-seven (5.2%) people died at residential addresses or another location.
Coronavirus deaths were recorded at a total of 76 care homes and hospices.
Health Minister Robin Swann said the statistics represent "a person who was loved and is sadly missed".
"We must always remember that," he said.
“While the death rate in NI continues to decrease, Covid-19 is still a very real threat. Everyone must keep following public health advice on social distancing and hand washing.
“I welcome the fact that Nisra’s weekly bulletin now contains a more detailed breakdown of information in relation to deaths of care homes residents.
"I have been in correspondence with Nisra in recent weeks and asked specifically for this additional information to be included in the bulletin in the interests of greater transparency.
“My department’s daily statistical dashboard also now includes more information in respect of care homes."