ANOTHER 45 Covid-19 related deaths have been announced in Ireland.
The Department of Health has also announced 575 new cases this evening.
Some 41 of these deaths occurred in February with four in January.
The median age of those who died was 84 years and the age range was 55 to 104 years.
Of the cases notified, 272 are men and 298 are women with 68 per cent under 45 years of age. The median age is 32 years old.
Dublin recorded 218 new cases, with 38 in Galway, 35 in Louth, 27 in Limerick, 26 in Westmeath and the remaining 231 cases are spread across 20 other counties.
As of 8am today, 693 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, of which 150 are in ICU.
There have been 37 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
As of February 20, 350,322 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland.
There has been a total of 4,181 Covid deaths and 216,300 cases.
Ireland’s 14-day incidence rate stands at 240.4 with 11,448 cases in the past two weeks.
SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT
Meanwhile, three confirmed cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 have been detected in Northern Ireland.
These are the first confirmed cases of the variant found in the province.
It comes as there have been 225 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the north today, along with five deaths.
The NI’s Department of Health has revealed a detailed health protection risk assessment and contact tracing response has been deployed.
In a statement, they said: “The risk of transmission is judged to be low at this time.”
The Department of Health also explained they are working closely with the Public Health Agency and the Regional Virology Laboratory in regards the investigation and assessment of these cases.
Health Minister Robin Swann stated: “I have previously been clear that identification of a confirmed case or cases of this variant in Northern Ireland was inevitable at some point.
“This development does not mean that this variant is going to become the most prevalent, or the dominant strain in Northern Ireland.
“However, it does underline once again the very real need for continuing caution in relation to Covid-19.
“The best way to stop variants developing or spreading is to keep pushing down infection rates and transmission of the virus in our community.”
“All variants of the SARS-COV-2 virus spread in the same way – and we all have an important role to play in stopping the spread of this virus, by following the tried and tested public health advice.”