Four further Covid-19 deaths recorded in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours

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By Q Radio News

Four further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 have been reported in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health said there had also been 1,060 new confirmed cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.

On Wednesday morning there were 397 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 34 in intensive care.

A total of 2,509,462 vaccines have been administered.

The latest figures come as the Chief Medical Officer Sir Michael McBride says that schools are "unequivocally" safe after the Public Health Agency took over contact tracing in schools.

"While children and young people have a relatively low risk of severe disease and hospitalisation, they are at particularly high risk of wider long-term socio-economic and well-being harm,” he told MLAs at a meeting of the education committee this morning.

“We must continue to strike a balance between safeguarding children’s education and well-being, and measures to contain Covid in the community.

“Having examined all the evidence, I am confident as chief medical officer that now is the right time to introduce a more targeted approach to the identification of close contacts and to strike that balance.”

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