Around 70% of people in hospital with COVID-19 are specifically there for treatment for COVID-related illness, the HSE says.
The remaining 30% are people who've gone in for other treatments or issues but "also have COVID".
As of this morning, there are 1,023 people with COVID-19 in Irish hospitals - up from 1,011 yesterday.
The number of patients with the virus in ICU has remained relatively steady since Christmas, and currently stands at 83 - down nine from yesterday.
On today's Pat Kenny Show, Anne O’Connor - chief operations officer with HSE - gave an update around the current situation in hospitals.
One big question in recent weeks has been around 'incidental' cases of COVID-19 in hospital - i.e. people with mild or asymptomatic cases of the virus who are mainly being treated for other issues.
Ms O'Connor said: “In broad brush strokes… about 70% of the people in that number are people who came to hospital because COVID or a COVID-related illness was their primary cause for presentation.
"They’re coming in for treatment for an illness due to COVID.
“The other 30% are people who’ve gone in potentially with something like a broken leg, for example, and also have COVID. That’s been the split for the last week or so.”
Ms O'Connor stressed that COVID cases still have a "huge impact" on hospitals, even if a percentage of those with the virus aren't seriously ill.
Galway University Hospital, for example, has 15 medical and surgical wards - of those, three are “in effect” COVID wards, while another four are impacted by COVID outbreaks.
Meanwhile, a different style of nursing and care is also needed for all patients with COVID due to infection prevention and control procedures.
Seriously ill patients can end up in ICU for weeks or even months, while around 200 other people are receiving "intensive-type care" (such as non-invasive ventilation) outside ICU .
Ms O'Connor said logistical challenges can also arise when discharging people from ICU to other wards in a hospital, due to COVID pressures.
She said daily hospital numbers fluctuate a lot in terms of the ‘constant churn’ of discharges and new admission.
However, she observed: “In reality, our hospitals are fairly full all the time. We don’t have additional capacity sitting there.
“Today, we have 147 beds available across our whole acute system. In reality, we know there are many sites within that - a significant number of sites where there are no beds or less than five beds available.”
Around 40% of people with COVID in hospital are not fully vaccinated - rising to around 55% in ICU.