New data has revealed a drop in the number of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes in Northern Ireland.

The data published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) up to the week ending 8 April 2022 revealed there have been 359 COVID-19 linked deaths in care homes since 1 January 2021.

This compares with 607 COVID-19 linked deaths in care homes in 2020. Of these, more than half (328) occurred in the less than three-month period between the first recorded death on March 19 2020 and the end of May 2020.

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There have been a total of 966 COVID-19 linked deaths in care homes since the beginning of the pandemic accounting for one in five (21.5%) of the total 4,503 recorded.

Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, earlier this year attributed the decline in COVID-19-related deaths in care homes to the success of the vaccination roll-out programme and effective infection control measures.

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