'Deep concern' at almost 400 new Covid-19 cases in north at weekend
ALMOST 400 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the north over the weekend.
It brought to 977 the total number of positive tests for the potentially deadly virus over the past week.
On Saturday 222 infections were confirmed – the highest number since the Department of Health rolled out its current model for testing.
Yesterday another 176 positive cases were identified, bringing the weekend total to 398.
An update on Covid-19 linked deaths will not be available until today.
Health minister Robin Swann described the latest figures as "deeply concerning".
"Important decisions to be taken in the days & weeks ahead. Everyone must play their part by following public health advice," he tweeted.
The number of people contracting the virus on both sides of the border has been rising steadily in recent weeks.
The Department of Health in the south reported yesterday that there had been 396 additional cases, with no further deaths
Of the new cases, 241 were located in Dublin.
Stormont's health committee chairman Colm Gildernew also voiced concerns yesterday about testing.
The Sinn Féin MLA cited the case of a family who are self-isolating after a child was tested on Thursday but the results had yet to be returned.
"They have been told at times over the phone to speak to people in England, then Scotland, and when they actually got to speak to somebody here they were told that the test hadn't been found, so those are areas of grave concern and I think they need to be addressed urgently by the minister."
He also said relatives of five people who died after contracting Covid-19 while being treated at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry and Craigavon Area Hospital in Co Armagh need answers.
The Southern Trust revealed the latest deaths on Friday, after four previous deaths linked to an outbreak at Craigavon were confirmed.
"The families are entitled to know the truth of what has happened in their loved one's case, but also the health service needs to very quickly learn how this happened and how they can prevent it happening in further settings," he told the BBC.
Meanwhile, the Donegal senior football squad has gone into isolation after a player tested positive for Covid-19.
The player was tested last week before a return to county training and was later revealed to be positive.
Donegal are scheduled to play Tyrone in the national league next month and in the Ulster championship at the beginning of November.
The positive test was confirmed by county chairman Mick McGrath.
“The management brought the squad in for a medical check earlier this week and there were various niggles.
“Following that it was decided to get the whole squad tested as well as the management team.
“And one of the players has tested positive.
“Our hurlers will be going back next week, and we will have to do the same with them,” he told the Irish Times.