NI reports three more Covid-19 deaths as it strengthens co-operation with HSE

NI reports three more Covid-19 deaths as it strengthens co-operation with HSE

There have been three reported deaths of patients with coronavirus in Northern Ireland since yesterday, according to the Public Health Agency. This brings the total number of deaths in the North to 73.

In addition, there are 97 more cases of Covid-19 there, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,255.

The number of individuals tested for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland is now 9,158.

It comes as a memorandum of understanding was signed by the HSE and the North's department of health to strengthen co-operation in the battle against coronavirus.

The document focuses on facilitating greater co-operation on areas such as: public health messaging, research, programmes of behavioural change, ethics, evidence base/ modelling, and public health and non-pharmaceutical measures.

Other areas will be considered, such as procurement, where this is of mutual benefit.

It was agreed by Health Minister Simon Harris and Northern Irish health minister Robin Swann, as well as the two chief medical officers – Dr Tony Holohan and Dr Michael McBride – and has the support of both administrations.

Mr Harris said there has already been “significant engagement” throughout the pandemic.

“This MOU will ensure timely and responsive communications and decisions in a fast-moving environment; that both administrations will seek to adopt similar approaches, where it is appropriate to do so on the advice of respective chief medical officers,” he said.

“I want to thank my colleagues in Northern Ireland for their co-operation to date. This is a global pandemic. It knows no borders and we are all in this together. It is essential we continue to do everything we can across the island to fight this pandemic.”

Mr Swann added: “I want to acknowledge the ongoing collaborative work between my department, the Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board and their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland.

“This has been the case from day one and is a reflection of the long standing cooperation and relationships built up over many years.

“We face a common challenge, a challenge that will test us as never before.

“We will continue to do everything possible to work together for the best possible outcome.”

The HSE's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said: “I am delighted that Dr Michael McBride and I have now finalised the MOU with the full engagement and assistance of respective departments and ministers.

“We have been working closely with our Northern Irish colleagues since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Today’s MOU will formalise the close ongoing co-operation that has been taking place.”

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride added that it is essential the two administrations work together over Covid-19.

“I welcome the MOU which reaffirms our commitment to work together for the benefit of the people we all serve,” he said.

“North-south co-operation on protecting the health and well-being of our citizens has been well established for many years. It is essential that we continue to work together as closely as possible at this time.”

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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