OFFICIAL statistics show one Covid death was reported in Mid & East Antrim in the last day, which is believed to be Andreea Maftei, just 32, who was a popular member of staff at the well-known Nobel Cafe in Ballymena.
Department of Health figures today record one Covid-related death in the Mid & East Antrim Borough Council in the last 24 hours.
The Department did not give any further information other than recording one death in the area.
However, it is understood to be Andreea.
The latest tragedy brings the number of people who have died in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic to 558 according to the Department of Health.
Andrea’s dad, who lives in Romania, has paid an emotional tribute to his daughter.
Mircea Serban said in a social media message that Andreea passed away on Thursday.
A translation of his message said Andrea was “killed by this unfortunate virus that killed hundreds of thousands of people.”
In a tribute to Andreea, Nobel Cafe said in a statement on Friday: ‘The friends and family at Nobel Cafe are well and truly devastated at the passing of our dear friend and colleague Andrea Maftei.
‘Our hearts go out to Andrea’s loving husband Ovidiu, her parents, grandparents and family circle.
‘Andrea worked with us for twelve fantastic years, not only was she a trusted employee but a very loyal friend. We are astounded at the news and utterly heartbroken.’
The statement said Environmental Health, Public Health Agency and Contact Tracing have ‘concluded that this is a community based outbreak and not through our food premise.’
It added: ‘Unfortunately, Andrea has been taken from us under horrendous circumstances.’
The statement said Nobel had sought ‘legal advice and we will not tolerate disrespect or online abuse towards this situation. We ask you to be kind as we grieve the loss of Andrea and what she meant to us.
‘This is the second member of staff we have lost during this horrendous pandemic, as you all know Roisin passed away with cancer in June. We know Roisin will be waiting for Andrea and we ask her to look after her.
‘We are completely and utterly heart broken. We will miss you forever. We can’t put it into words. Out of respect for Andrea and the shock this has caused for our staff we will be closed today and tomorrow. Take care everyone. Love Nobel x’.
Tributes to the young woman filled Nobel’s Facebook page.
Angelika Andzia wrote: Andreea was the most positive person that I had chance to meet. Heartbreaking news.”
Ballymena businessman Thomas McKillen wrote: “The Management and staff of McKillens of Ballymena wish to express our deepest sympathy to all in Nobel Cafe on the passing of their colleague Andreea Maftei.
“We also extend this sympathy to her husband and family. Please take care everyone.”
Mary Cooke posted that “Auntie Roisin O’Neill will be waiting with open arms… So sorry to the whole of Nobel family and to Andreea’s family – may she get the best bed in heaven.”
Ballymena SDLP councillor Eugene Reid said: “Andreea had made Northern Ireland her home and both she and her husband have worked hard for many years to build their life here.”
74 new cases were reported across Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours.
There have been 485 cases in Mid & East Antrim out of 11,636 people tested in the area since the pandemic started.
That was a rise of 24 new cases in the district in the last day.
It means the Mid & East Antrim Borough has had the highest number of new Covid cases in Northern Ireland with 55 cases in the last seven days and 75 in the last week.
There have been 509 cases in Antrim & Newtownabbey and 348 in Causeway Coast & Glens.
The total number of cases in Northern Ireland since the pandemic began is 6,299.
The number of people who have died across Northern Ireland since the pandemic began, according to the Department of Health, is 558.
In Mid & East Antrim, since the pandemic started, the number of people who died is 44 according to Department of Health statistics.
The Health Department says there have been 60 deaths in Antrim and Newtownabbey and 39 in Causeway Coast and Glens.
Two sets of figures are produced. The Department of Health gives updates daily on week days and NISRA, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, gives a weekly total of deaths which is released each Friday.
Latest figures published today by NISRA show that four deaths involving COVID-19 occurred in Northern Ireland in the week, from 1st to 7th August. The total COVID-19 related deaths figure stands at 859.
Of this total, 452 (52.6%) took place in hospital, 349 (40.6%) in care homes, eight (0.9%) in hospices and 50 (5.8%) at residential addresses or other locations. The 357 deaths which occurred in care homes and hospices involved 81 separate establishments.
The comparative number of deaths reported daily by the Department of Health to 7th August was 556. These figures are based on patients having previously tested positive for the virus, whereas the NISRA figures are based on the information entered on death certificates, completed by medical professionals. They may or may not have previously tested positive for the virus.
Further analysis, which includes deaths of care home residents in hospital, shows that of the 429 deaths of care home residents involving COVID-19 in the year to date to 7th August 2020, 81.4% (349) occurred in a care home, with the remaining 80 occurring in hospital. On this basis, deaths of care home residents account for 49.9% of all COVID-19 related deaths; however, no assumptions can be made in relation to where or when the deceased contracted the disease.
Separate analyses based on the date of death registration, shows that the provisional number of total deaths from all causes registered in Northern Ireland in the week ending 7th August 2020 (week 31) was 280, seven more than in week 30 and four more than the 5-year average of 276. Over the last 19 weeks in total, 1,035 ‘excess deaths’ (deaths above the average for the corresponding period in previous years) have been registered in Northern Ireland, with the number of ‘excess deaths’ in the year to date to 7th August totalling 776.
COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate of five (1.8%) of the 280 deaths registered in week 31. This is four more than last week (week 30) and brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths registered in the calendar year 2020 to 859.
Persons aged 75 and over accounted for two-thirds (65.1%) of all deaths and 80% of COVID‑19 related deaths registered this calendar year up to 7th August.
For COVID-19 related deaths, those with an address in Belfast Local Government District (LGD) accounted for 247 (28.8%) of the 859 deaths registered in the calendar year to 7th August.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “The weather has been very kind this week and with good weather comes more people out and about, on our streets, in our shops and on our beaches. We continue to see increasing numbers of positive cases across Northern Ireland and whilst that is not unexpected the number of close contacts linked to positive cases has more than doubled since July.
“This rise may be attributed to the easing of lockdown measures, but may also be explained by relaxing of attitudes to social distancing.
“We cannot become complacent because this virus continues to circulate and sadly continues to have devastating consequences for families. Today my Department has reported 74 new positive cases and sadly one further death.
“I want to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the person who has tragically passed away. This upsetting news serves as a stark reminder that this virus has not gone away.
“I implore everyone to stick with it. Keep your distance, wash your hands, wear your mask and do not let this virus take a hold in our society. These measures, while simplistic, are essential to winning the battle.”
Meanwhile, Department of Health figures show that there have been more than 250,000 downloads of the ‘StopCOVID NI’ proximity app since it went live two weeks ago.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Surpassing a quarter of a million downloads in just two weeks is a fantastic achievement and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to download the app. The more people that use the app, the more protection it gives us all so I would encourage those who have not yet downloaded the app to do so. For those who have downloaded it, remember to share it with your friends and family.
“While the app is still in its infancy, it is really positive and reassuring to see that the app is already helping in preventing spread of Covid-19. I welcome that app users who have tested positive for Covid-19 have already uploaded their unique diagnosis keys through the app, and in doing so will have helped protect others from this virus. Since going live 39 diagnosis keys have been uploaded, and 19 exposure notifications to self-isolate for 14 days have been issued to close contact matches thus helping to limit the spread of the infection.”
Dr Eddie O’Neill, Consultant Medical Adviser and Product Manager who led the development of the app, said: “The app comes at a really important time, ahead of winter and a potentially very challenging time for our health service. We must use this time to prepare.
“The app is an important tool in helping us reduce the number of people passing on Covid-19 infection. The more people that download and use it the more effective it will be. Most people who are infected don’t have symptoms, and don’t know they are infected; passing it on to others without realising.
“If you come into close contact with someone who tests positive, you’ll be alerted; equally if you test positive, you can input your test result into the app, and alert others who have come into close contact with you, in the previous two weeks. If people are warned that they may have been infected, before they develop symptoms, they can self-isolate and avoid passing on the infection.
“It’s important that as many of us as possible are using the app and are familiar with the process. This will inevitably help limit transmission in any future second wave that we may face in the winter, along with the manual Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme.
“We must also remember that washing hands well and frequently, wearing a face covering (when in enclosed spaces and where social distancing isn’t possible), and keeping our distance, are still key to keeping ourselves and others safe. If we all try to observe all of these precautions, we might be able to avoid the worst of a second wave of infection.”
The ‘StopCOVID NI’ app is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.