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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

'Very significant' rise in Covid cases linked to The Elk

A “very significant” rise in Covid cases in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust during the last two weeks has been linked by health officials to an event at The Elk in Toomebridge.

Speaking at a meeting of the Trust board on Thursday, Neill Martin, interim divisional director of strategic development, said the event had “turned into a super spreader”.

A teen disco was held at the venue on November 5.

The Trust’s finance director Owen Harkin commented that the Mid Ulster and Causeway Coast and Glens areas have been “impacted” as a result.

Updating members on the delivery of vaccination in the Northern Trust, Mr Harkin reported that 313,000 doses have been delivered.

He indicated that vaccinations have been delivered at up to 27 of 47 post-primary schools in the Northern area, to date, with 8,000 doses administered to the 12 to 15-year-old age group with a walk-in facility planned this weekend at Seven Towers Leisure Centre in Ballymena for this age group and first doses for 16 to 17-year-olds.

He went on to say there will be a “focus on front line Trust staff” with clinics for staff at Antrim and Causeway Hospitals.

He added that he expects demand for the booster among 40 to 49-year-olds to “increase quite significantly”.

“We want to get as many through the mass vaccination centre as quickly as possible,” he stated.

“We have a high degree of confidence we are making progress. We need to protect hospital services going forward particularly over Christmas and the New Year.”

Mr Martin went on to report that the number of Covid patients at Antrim Hospital has remained “steady” at between 50 to 60 after peaking at 166 last January with between 20 and 25 at Causeway Hospital in Coleraine and “half the peak of last January”.

“We are almost at the same place as we were this time last year,” he commented.


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