A 32-year-old cafe worker is the latest person to have died in Northern Ireland after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

The woman has been named locally as Andrea Maftei. She had worked in the Nobel Cafe in Ballymena, County Antrim, for the past 12 years.

She was originally from Romania, and her father and colleagues have been paying tribute to her online.

The cafe owners said they were “truly devastated” by the death of their “dear friend and colleague”.

Her death was included in the latest statistics from the Department of Health, the first death in four days.

The figures also show 74 new cases have been confirmed in Northern Ireland.

‘Utterly heartbroken’

In a Facebook post, Ms Maftei’s father wrote: “Our daughter Andrea passed away among the angels, killed by this miserable virus at only 32 years old.

“She left us far away in Ireland in a hospital bed.”

Also on Facebook, the owners of Nobel Cafe said: “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.”

They added: “The Environmental Health, The Public Health Agency and NIC Contract Tracing have both concluded that this is a community based outbreak and not through our food premise.”

The cafe will be closed on Friday and Saturday “out of respect for Andrea”.

Earlier on Friday, separate Covid-19 figures were released showing there were five coronavirus-linked deaths registered in Northern Ireland over the course of last week.

Those five deaths were confirmed by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) which records all deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

Nisra’s latest statistics bulletin said the disease had featured on a total of 859 people’s death certificates in Northern Ireland by 7 August.

The Department of Health’s death toll by the same date (7 August) was 556 – more than 300 fewer.

The department’s statistics are calculated differently from Nisra and are based on a patient having previously tested positive for the virus.

However, the department’s toll has now risen to 558 after it recorded a death on 8 August and a further death of the patient aged under 40 yesterday (Thursday 13 August).

‘Continues to circulate’

Health Minister Robin Swann said the death recorded on Friday was “a stark reminder that this virus has not gone away”.

“We cannot become complacent because this virus continues to circulate and sadly continues to have devastating consequences for families,” Mr Swann said.

“I want to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the person who has tragically passed away.”

The latest death, understood to be that of Ms Maftei, was recorded in the Mid and East Antrim council area.

Mid and East Antrim also had the highest number of confirmed new cases, accounting for almost one third of all positive tests in the past 24 hours.

The department’s figures show that 24 of the 74 new infections were in that area, while the Belfast City Council area had the second highest number with 14 new cases.

Fermanagh and Omagh Council was the only council area which did not have any new positive tests.

Care home deaths

Since the pandemic began, Nisra has also been keeping track of the location of deaths and the ages of of those who have died.

It also records whether the fatalities occurred in hospitals; care homes; hospices or private residences.

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland

Location of deaths registered where Covid-19 is recorded on death certficate

Nisra’s latest bulletin said there had been a total of 452 deaths in hospital, representing more than half (52.6%) of all deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Eighty of those people were normally resident in care homes – a figure unchanged since last week.

Taking that figure and the 349 who died in care homes, it means care home residents account for half of all Covid-19-related deaths in Northern Ireland.

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland

Deaths registered where Covid-19 is recorded on death certificate

Nisra said no deaths related to Covid-19 occurred in care homes in the week up to last Friday.

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland

Deaths of care home residents by place of death

Eight people have died in hospices (0.9%) and 50 at residential addresses or other locations (5.8%).

People aged 75 and over account for 80% of all Covid-19-related deaths.

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland

Age of deaths registered where Covid-19 is recorded on death certificate

In the week ending 7 August, the percentage of all Covid-19 related male deaths was 49.9% and female deaths 50.1%.

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland

Gender of deaths registered where Covid-19 is recorded on death certificate

The provisional number of all deaths between 1 and 7 August was 280 – seven more than in the previous week (273) and four more than the five-year average (276).

That five-year death rate is used to compare the number of weekly deaths that would normally be recorded at this time of year.

Its measure captures all deaths linked to coronavirus – those involving confirmed infections which feature in the health department’s daily figures, as well as the suspected cases in which coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate.

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland

Weekly deaths registered regardless of cause

Nisra also recorded the number of “excess deaths” registered in the past 19 weeks as 1,035.

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