The toll of coronavirus-linked deaths in Northern Ireland has dropped for a sixth week in a row.

The latest figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) indicate that 44 people died with Covid-19 in the week ending 26 February.

The weekly number has fallen steadily since NISRA reported 156 in the week 9 to 15 January.

Total coronavirus-related deaths up to 26 February stood at 2,816.

Today, a further two people died with the disease in Northern Ireland and there were 166 new confirmed cases. 

There are 242 coronavirus patients in hospital - the lowest since early October. There are 29 in ICU, 27 of whom are on ventilators.

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NISRA data provides a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19 than the death toll reported by Stormont's Department of Health.

The department's statistics focus primarily on hospital deaths and only include people who have tested positive for the virus.

NISRA obtains its data from death certificates on which Covid-19 is recorded as a factor by a medical professional, regardless of where the death took place or whether the patient tested positive.

The department's total stood at 2,054 on 26 February.

The statistics agency reports its Covid-19 data with a one-week lag.

Of the 2,816 deaths recorded by NISRA by 26 February, 1,837 (65%) occurred in hospitals, 760 (27%) in care homes, 14 (0.5%) in hospices and 205 (7%) at residential addresses or other locations.

The 774 deaths in care homes and hospices involved 177 separate establishments.

NISRA also provides analysis around the number of care home residents who have died, whether in their home or in hospital, having been transferred for treatment.

Up to 26 February, the deaths of 995 care home residents were linked to coronavirus, 235 of which occurred in hospital.

Care home residents make up about 35% of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

In the week of 19-26 February, 55 coronavirus-linked deaths were officially registered in Northern Ireland, some of which occurred before that week as deaths can take a number of days to register.

It is the fifth week in a row the number of registered Covid-19 linked deaths has fallen, from 182 in the week 16-22 January.

Additional reporting: Vincent Kearney