Northern Ireland Executive Ministers and their officials have over the past 24 hours been involved in a number of initiatives and critical decisions relating to the Coronavirus emergency.
The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency provided a fuller picture of the number of deaths relating to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland with the release of new statistics.
NISRA’s figures showed that of the 157 total deaths registered involving Covid-19 up to 10th April 2020, 109 (69%) occurred in hospital, 41 (26%) in care homes and hospices and 7 (4%) at private addresses.
The 41 deaths in care homes and hospices involved 23 separate establishments.
First Minister Arlene Foster, deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill and Health Minister Robin Swann said the statistics on Covid-19 recorded by NISRA were helping inform the Executive’s response to the pandemic but they were also very sobering.
First Minister Foster said: “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.”
Deputy First Minister O’Neill added: “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.”
Minister 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.”
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey revealed an additional £250,000 has been added to her department’s Hardship Fund to help sports clubs and organisations meet the cost of essential overheads and the costs of maintaining their facilities during lockdown.
The move came after it emerged around 350 sports clubs and organisations have applied for financial assistance since the scheme was launched on Monday.
The £500,000 fund, managed by SportNI, aims to provide financial assistance through a £2000 grant to sports clubs and during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “In order to meet that huge scale in demand, I am pleased that the initial funding of £500,000 has been increased by a further £250,000 through the reallocation of exchequer funding from Sport NI programmes. The level of demand for the scheme is exceptional and shows that there is a significant need across the sports sector at this time. The funding will go a long way to ensuring that clubs and organisations continue to exist, that facilities are maintained and that the sector is ready when the lockdown restrictions start to be relaxed.”
Notes to editors:
- The Northern Ireland Executive is producing a regular digest of key initiatives and decisions that have been undertaken by ministers and their Departments relating to the Coronavirus crisis.
- Members of the public are encouraged to check regularly the Public Health Agency, NI Direct, NI Executive and government departmental websites and social media channels for public health advice on how to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.
- Current information and advice in relation to Covid-19 can be found on the PHA website at: www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus
- Patients who have a persistent cough, or high temperature, together with any other members of their household must self-isolate according to the guidance on the PHA website at: www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus#what-should-i-do-if-i-think-i-have-coronavirus
- The Department of Health NI has launched a new Covid-19 NI information app to provide people with immediate advice and links to vital trusted information. The app will be updated as the pandemic evolves. Download the Covid-19 NI app - search for Covid-19 NI on the Apple app store and Covid-19 NI on google play.
- The Framework for the Wellbeing of Health and Social Care staff can be accessed at the following link: www.publichealth.hscni.net/sites/default/files/2020-04/HSC_Regional%20Staff%20Wellbeing%20Framework.pdf and is based on evidence and best practice guidance and is informed by The British Psychological Society Guidance Paper.
- Psychological Support Help Lines will be staffed by psychologists and psychological therapists who can provide appropriate support throughout the surge phase of the crisis.
- The Helplines will be made available by each Trust to all their staff, to all GP Practices in their area, to all Ambulance staff based in their area and to all independent sector care providers in their area. In this way support is offered to all parts of the system throughout surge.
- The Framework document is supported by resources which are available on the PHA website: www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/guidance-hsc-staff/staff-health-and-wellbeing
- If you are in distress or despair at any time including the Covid-19 crisis, the 24/7 Lifeline helpline is available on 0808 808 8000 where trained counsellors are available to help you.
- Anyone wishing to volunteer for health and social care support roles can do so via: www.hscworkforceappeal.co.uk/.
- The Freephone COVID-19 Community Helpline can be accessed by telephone on 0808 802 0020; email email@example.com or text ACTION to 81025. It is available 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm.
- Statistics on weekly deaths registered in Northern Ireland can be accessed on NISRA’s website at: www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/weekly-deaths
- Volunteer Now has launched a new online campaign #HelpEachOther for those who wish to volunteer for COVID-19 related opportunities and for those organisations which require the support of volunteers to deliver their services to the most in need. Further information is available at: www.volunteernow.co.uk
- A list of schools which are open for educational supervision is available on the Department of Education website: www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/schools-open-supervised-learning-key-workers-children-and-vulnerable-children.
- A link to the guidance on schools clustering is available here: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/guidance-schools-cluster-arrangements
- Forms for those applying to provide supervision to vulnerable children and the children of key workers can be accessed from the Department of Education website using the following link: http://apps.education-ni.gov.uk/appc19vol/default.aspx
- The Hardship Fund for Sport is funded by DfC and managed and administered by Sport NI. More details are available on the Sport NI website; http://www.sportni.net/funding/our-funding-programmes/sports-hardship-fund-2/
- Media enquiries should be directed to the relevant department using the following email addresses. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
- The Executive Office: Press.Office@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk;
- Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: PressOffice.Group@daera-ni.gov.uk;
- Department for Communities: Press.Office@communities-ni.gov.uk;
- Department of Education: Press.Office@education-ni.gov.uk;
- Department for the Economy: DfE.PressOffice@economy-ni.gov.uk;
- Department of Finance: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Department for Infrastructure: Press.Office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk
- Department of Health: PressOffice@health-ni.gov.uk
- Department of Justice: Press.Office@justice-ni.x.gsi.gov.uk
- Physical proof of status should be offered to EU citizens 15 September 2021
- Award success for Executive’s Covid public information campaign 13 September 2021
- Givan and O’Neill congratulate All-Ireland winners Tyrone 11 September 2021
- Appointment of Mr Justice Mark Horner to the NI Judicial Appointments Commission (NIJAC) 08 September 2021