Today, the Department of Health has been notified of 3,955 new cases of Covid-19 and 28 additional deaths.
This brings the country’s overall case numbers to 163,057, while the death toll has now reached 2,488.
As of 2pm today, there were 1,789 patients in hospital with the virus, 169 of whom were being treated in Intensive Care Units.
The country’s national 14-day incidence rate is now 1,497 cases per 100,000.
Of today’s cases, 1,826 were men, 2,115 were women and 54 per cent were under the age of 45.
There were 1,210 new cases reported in Dublin, 456 in Cork, 235 in Louth, 221 in Meath and 218 in Limerick. The remaining 1,615 cases were recorded in all other counties.
Speaking at this evening’s Covid-19 press briefing, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan said the incidence rate of the virus is now 20 times greater than it was in December.
“From an epidemiological perspective, what we are seeing in this wave is different to what we have seen since springtime, and perhaps worse.
“The penetration of the virus throughout all ages of the population is a particular cause for serious concern, as is risk of severe disease that all of these people face. Poor health outcomes, risk of serious or long-term illness and hospitalisation remain a risk for us all when it comes to Covid-19.
“That is why we must follow public health advice and protect not only ourselves but our hospital system and healthcare workers by staying at home.”
This comes after the HSE confirmed 77,303 people in the Republic have now received their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after the roll-out began on December 29th.
The HSE is currently considering whether people who have previously had Covid-19 should be vaccinated, as the HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said they may have their own immunity to the virus.
A re-evaluation of the vaccination priority list is set to take place following the third wave of the virus, while 4,000 people have been trained to give the vaccine.
Work is also said to be ongoing to finalise locations of mass vaccinations sites which will be used to administer doses to the wider population when healthcare staff and residents in long term residential facilities have received their doses.