From the middle of March last year until now, the number of coronavirus inpatients in Northern Ireland has never dipped below 20.
The lowest figure recorded from St Patrick’s Day 2020 until now had been 22 patients on August 14 last year, during the period of summer between the first and second waves of infection.
But on Tuesday, after a bank holiday weekend when the usual daily updates were not published by the Department of Health at Stormont, there were just 20 coronavirus inpatients.
According to the latest update, that figure has dropped again to just 17 — the lowest recorded since the first patients here began to be admitted to hospital with the virus last year.
At the height of the pandemic in Northern Ireland, in the middle of January this year, there were more than 1,000 people in hospital with the virus.
Meanwhile, in contrast with other parts of the UK, the decline in new cases hascontinued in Northern Ireland.
There were 84 cases recorded yesterday, for a total of 484 for the past seven days.
This time last week the seven-day figure was 540, and the week before it was 614.
In terms of deaths, Northern Ireland set a new record last month when 10 consecutive days passed with no fatalities recorded by the Stormont health department.
The latest update showed no new deaths in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, and a total of just one over the past week.
Meanwhile, the vaccination roll-out continues at pace.
There were a total of 1,737,125 vaccines administered by mid-day on Wednesday.
Of those, 1,061,550 were first doses and 675,575 were second doses. That translates to roughly 73% and 46% of the adult population respectively.