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CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Health Minister warns against complacency

COVID-19 modelling indicates that the country will have half the number of deaths as first projected

CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Health Minister warns against complacency

The Health Minister has warned against ‘complacency’ this week as he shared the latest findings of NI COVID-19 modelling which predicts a much smaller death toll in the country.

At a COVID-19 press conference earlier this week Health Minister Robin Swann said ‘complacency will kill’.

He urged the public to ‘keep doing what you’re doing’ by maintaining social distancing standards.

A great many lives have been saved because of social distancing, he said.

The most recent modelling advice indicates that under a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ the country would be looking at ‘in the region of 1,500 deaths’ in the first 20 weeks of the epidemic – that covers both hospital deaths and those in the community.

Just three weeks ago, April 1, it had been projected that the number of cumulative COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland over the same period would be 3,000.

“This is a significant revision on the previous modelling total,” he said, “but of course this is not a prediction or a forecast, modelling doesn’t work like that. 

“But it provides a clear indication that social distancing is working, it provides encouragement to everyone who is working hard to do the right thing.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said that this week GPs would begin random sampling of patients who present with respiratory symptoms.

That will provide crucial evidence as to how the virus is spreading in the community.

Testing in care homes will also be improved and COVID outbreaks managed.  He added that as of April 12 all residents who were symptomatic have been tested.

Surveillance of individuals presenting at A&E departments with respiratory conditions will also be carried out from April 28.

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