Are 1 in 4 NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’?

CLAIM: “One in four NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’”

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The research behind the News Letter headline was conducted across the UK and the results were not broken down by region, so this UK finding cannot be applied to Northern Ireland without further area-specific evidence.

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What are shielding letters?

This article explains what the shielding letters are; who should have received them; and who sends them.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions. FactCheckNI have also produced a live Q&A article on shielding letters. It will be updated as and when new information becomes available – you can find it here.]

Summary

    • A ‘shielding letter’ is to inform those that they should comply with stricter stay at home restrictions in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.
    • GP Practices were provided with a search tool by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to aid them in identifying those patients who were the “clinically extremely vulnerable”. GPs were also asked to use their clinical judgement as to who should receive a shielding letter based on the criteria listed. The guidance issued is advisory for the patient’s health, but the UK government advises that if you choose not to follow these regulations, to speak with your GP before reaching the decision.
    • The Department of Health is working closely with Community Pharmacists and Community Health Development Network to ensure that those who are in need of medicines and are ‘shielding’ can avail of pharmacy deliveries.
    • Guidance on shielding for people at potentially higher risk from COVID-19 is being actively reviewed.

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Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

CLAIM: Of the 353 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals in Northern Ireland, 62 people contracted the virus in a care home and were transferred to a hospital before dying.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The death certificates of 62 people who died in hospital mention COVID-19 and give a normal residence address of a care home. However, there is no data to indicate where or when they contracted COVID-19.
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What are the rules of lockdown in Northern Ireland?

This article explains what the rules of “lockdown” during COVID-19 are in Northern Ireland.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Summary

Northern Ireland is currently under ‘lockdown’ since 23 March with citizens practicing social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19. All citizens must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse or necessity for leaving.

    • Legislation was enacted on 28 March which governs enforcement by the PSNI.
    • Legislation was amended on Friday 24 April to include the opening of cemeteries and to allow for short distances travelled to safe places or facilities for exercise.
    • As of 25 April 2020, since lockdown began the PSNI has issued 570 cautions and 358 penalty fines (00:45).
    • The Irish Government have introduced ‘stay at home’ measures until 5 May with travel for exercise restricted to a 2km radius from the residence.

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Are COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland 50% higher than Ireland?

A widely shared tweet by Gabriel Scally on Wednesday 22 April draws attention to an Irish Times article about the difference in relative COVID-19 death rates across the island of Ireland, and claims that “the death rate for #COVID19 deaths in hospital (and for all COVID deaths) is 50% higher in Northern Ireland”.

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The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?

The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?

This article explains how the health system in Northern Ireland is structured, and who is responsible for COVID-19 planning and decision making.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Summary

There is a huge amount of collaboration between health bodies around COVID-19 in Northern Ireland. But the division of responsibilities can be understood as follows:

    • Health policy is devolved to Northern Ireland, but there is a focus on coordination with the wider UK and the Republic of Ireland.
    • The Northern Ireland Executive is responsible for coordinating the overall response.
    • The Department of Health sets COVID-19 policy, regulations and health strategy.
    • The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) commissions services.
    • The Public Health Authority (PHA) collects information, issues advice and communicates key messages.
    • Health Trusts manage the day to day running of hospitals, health centres, residential homes and other health and social care facilities. The Northern Ambulance Service is also a Trust.

 

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