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New figures Deaths in nursing homes fell by 60pc in September 2020 after huge spike in April

Information on place of death shows increases in death notices mentioning home as the place of death, rising from 16.1c in October 2019 to 25.8pc in September 2020.

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A celtic cross headstone in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

A celtic cross headstone in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

A celtic cross headstone in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

The number of deaths in nursing homes dropped from a high of 1,237 in April to 457 in September, new figures show.

The figures provided by the Central Statistics Office Ireland (CSO) also show that the number of deaths registered in care homes jumped by more than 70pc from March to April, during the spike of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CSO analysed thousands of death notices on RIP.ie to monitor trends in mortality in Ireland.

The data also shows that excess mortality from March to September is estimated to between 876 and 1,192.

The death notices provide information on gender and place of death, including nursing homes, during the critical time.

Information on place of death shows increases in death notices mentioning home as the place of death, rising from 16.1% in October 2019 to 25.8pc in September 2020.

Mentions of HIQA-registered older people’s facilities declined from a high of 1,237 in April 2020 to 457 in September 2020.

Statistician John Flanagan said: “Since the end of March 2020, the CSO has been using the website RIP.ie to keep track of death notices.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we began to explore experimental ways of obtaining up-to-date mortality data.

“Analysis of death notices was conducted as far back as October 2019, to include the last month before the first global cases of Covid-19 were notified and this update includes data to the end of September 2020.

“The Death Events Publishing Service (DEPS) of the General Register Office (GRO) has been monitored in tandem, to validate the volumes of death notices published.”

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Due to the Irish custom of holding funerals within two to three days following death, notices are usually placed quickly, providing a valuable crowd-sourced means of tracking deaths, CSO said.

The notices are placed close to real time, given the average length of time between date of death and publication is found to be about 1.1 days.

In comparison, the statutory time limit is three months for the registration of deaths in the State.

The data shows the most notable is the increase in death notices in April which stands in contrast with previous years.

The numbers of death notices increased to 3,502 in April from 2,861 in March.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we began to explore experimental ways of obtaining up-to-date mortality data. John Flanagan

In comparison, the average number of deaths for April for the years 2013-2017 was approximately 2,500.

Based on the analysis of death notices, excess mortality for the period March to September 2020 is estimated to be between 876 and 1,192.

This assumes that, in the absence of Covid-19 deaths, mortality would have followed a similar trajectory to previous years.

The range is calculated by comparing death notices for the months of March to September 2020 against death notices for the same months in the previous year, and against an average of the same period in the previous two years and previous three years.

Meanwhile two more deaths linked to Covid-19 and 767 new cases of the virus were confirmed on Monday evening by the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Of the latest cases, 321 are in Dublin, 84 in Cork, 47 in Meath, 34 in Limerick, 24 in Roscommon and the remaining 257 cases are spread across all other counties.

As of 2pm, there were 322 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 44 are in ICU.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said NPHET is seeing a continued reduction in the positivity rate in terms of testing, but warned “we still have a long way to go”.

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