THE Department of Health has now reported just over 500 deaths related to Covid-19 in the North.
A further seven coronavirus deaths were reported by the department today, bringing its total to 501.
Three of these deaths occurred within the 24-hour period before 10am today, while the remaining four occurred before then but are only being reported now.
As it stands, a total of 618 patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 are being treated in hospitals across the North, with 13 of these in Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
Currently, there are active Covid-19 outbreaks in 71 care homes in Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health today reiterated the importance of the public adhering to advice around hand washing and social distancing as the battle to curb the spread of Covid-19 continues.
A spokesperson for the department said, “With the first steps being introduced to ease some of the restrictions that have been in place here since March it remains vitally important that none of us become complacent.
“The guidance in place is clear and that is – that good hand hygiene and social distancing are crucial elements in preventing the spread of the virus and helps to save lives.
“These are simple steps but no one should doubt for a moment the impact that they have.
“The Executive recently announced that people consider wearing a face covering in places where there are difficulties social distancing, such as on public transport or in retail environments. This advice was recommended by the Northern Ireland Covid-19 Strategic Intelligence Group.
“It is important to note that the wearing of face coverings is primarily to prevent the wearer inadvertently infecting other people, however there may be some weaker evidence of benefits for the wearer.”