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One in 40 people in parts of NI could currently have Covid-19, chief scientific adviser says

1,410 new Covid-19 cases and 17 further deaths have been confirmed in NI.

File image of NI Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young.
File image of NI Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young.
Image: PA

AS MANY AS one in 40 people in certain parts of Northern Ireland could currently have Covid-19, the NI chief scientific adviser has said.

Professor Ian Young said that figures show close to one person in 100 received a Covid-19 diagnosis in the last week, but this is “an underrepresentation” of the actual case numbers. 

1,410 new Covid-19 cases and 17 further deaths were reported in NI this afternoon. 

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show, Young said: “If you look at the case numbers, there are parts of Northern Ireland – Mid Ulster, for example – where close to one person in 100 had a Covid diagnosis… in the last week.

“But that’s an underrepresentation of the true number of cases because we know that there are also many people with Covid who are asymptomatic and are not diagnosed.

It’s very likely that in parts of Northern Ireland, there’s as many as one person in 40 who currently has Covid.

In England, figures released earlier this week suggested that 1.1 million people in private English households had Covid-19 between December 27 and January 2 – equivalent to 2.06% of the population, or one in 50 people.

Young said the one in 40 figure for the North is possible in certain local government districts with high incidence rates of Covid-19. 

He said these include Mid Ulster, Armagh and Craigavon.

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Speaking about hospitalisations, Young said: “In the past we have had up to around 500 hospital inpatients being treated for Covid. We could easily before the end of this month rise to 1,000 or more, and indeed, depending on the impact of the new variant… those numbers could rise even further beyond that.”

He said health workers will “face the greatest pressures that they have done by far” with a continued increase in hospitalisations and ICU admissions “for most of the next month”. 

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