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Covid crisis Northern Ireland records staggering 3,576 coronavirus cases in last 48 hours

The latest figures also show that 99% of hospital beds are occupied, with some 30 empty hospital beds left in Northern Ireland.

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Northern Ireland’s seven-day incidence rate is now at 576.6 per 100,000 (Liam McBurney/PA)

Northern Ireland’s seven-day incidence rate is now at 576.6 per 100,000 (Liam McBurney/PA)

Northern Ireland’s seven-day incidence rate is now at 576.6 per 100,000 (Liam McBurney/PA)

Northern Ireland has recorded a further 3,576 coronavirus cases within the last 48 hours.

Another 26 people have died with Covid-19, the Department of Health said.

Figures also show there are 483 patients in hospital with Covid-19, with 35 of those in ICUs.

In the last seven days, 10,850 people have tested positive with the virus, up from 4,281 for the previous seven days.

Northern Ireland’s seven-day incidence rate is now at 576.6 per 100,000.

It has more than doubled in the last two weeks.

The latest figures also show that 99% of hospital beds are occupied, with some 30 empty hospital beds left in Northern Ireland.

Six of Northern Ireland’s hospitals are operating beyond capacity, including Antrim, Causeway, Mater, Royal Hospital, South West Acute Hospital and Ulster Hospital.

It comes as the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Northern Ireland begins at GP practices on Monday.

An initial batch of 50,000 doses has been allocated.

Those aged over 80 will be initially prioritised.

The evidence shows that the initial dose of vaccine offers as much as 70% protection against the effects of the virusDr Michael McBride

Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said as many people on the priority list as possible should be offered a first dose.

He added: “The evidence shows that the initial dose of vaccine offers as much as 70% protection against the effects of the virus.

“Providing that level of protection on a large scale will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality and hospitalisations, protecting the health and social care system. It is the right thing to do for the public health.”

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