The Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has said nothing is being ruled out as coronavirus figures continue to rise.
There were 69 more cases of the coronavirus recorded in Ireland on Thursday.
Latest figures also show that there have been five deaths due to the virus.
However, four of these deaths are late notifications and took place in April and June.
There are now 26,372 cases here and 1,768 deaths.
Of the cases notified on Thursday:
- 37 are men / 31 are women
- 65% are under 45 years of age
- 39 are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case
- Two cases have been identified as community transmission
The median age of all who have died to date is 83.
Over the past 14 days, 549 cases have been notified of which 469 have actually arisen during the period.
This gives a 14 day incidence of 9.85 per 100,000 population.
Of these 469 cases, the median age was 31 with 65% cases in people under the age of 45.
Twenty-two cases are located in Offaly, 19 in Kildare, eight in Laois, six in Dublin, and 14 are spread across eight other counties.
These are Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Limerick, Louth, Meath and Wexford.
People in Kildare, Laois and Offaly are being urged to take immediate action if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, and double down on their efforts.
Some 226 cases, mainly in meat plants, have arisen in the three counties over the past fortnight.
Those aged over-70 in the three counties are being warned to take particular care and limit the number of people they are in contact with.
A special web page has been set up with advice for those areas.
Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, said: "Over the past fourteen days, 226 cases have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly.
"These represent almost half of all cases in Ireland over that time period.
"While the majority of these cases can be accounted for by outbreaks, this volume of cases is significant and our main priority now is to ensure that these outbreaks do not lead to widespread community transmission in the region.
"NPHET continues to monitor the situation closely.
"I urge people in these counties to remain vigilant to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in these areas."
Asked about any potential of a localised lockdown in the midlands, Dr Glynn said: "It's an opportunity for people across the country, but particularly in these three counties, to take on individual responsibility and to double down on all of the measures that they're so familiar with at this point.
"I'm not going to pre-judge the further information that we get through on these cases this evening and tomorrow.
"But obviously we need to monitor it very closely".
But he added: "With something like this you can't rule anything out - but in the first instance we need the information.
"And as I said we'll give further information and guidance tomorrow once we have that information"
"A serious concern"
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: "We have seen a significant increase in the incidence of COVID-19 over the past week.
"The reproduction number for the virus is now estimated to be 1.8.
"A reproduction number of almost two is a serious concern, and although we have not yet seen a significant increase in community transmission, there is a significant risk this could develop over the coming days and weeks emphasising the need for each of us to be extremely cautious that we do not contribute to the transmission of the virus."
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer at the HSE, added: "Public health teams have been informed of the locations of these outbreaks as is routine and contact tracing and testing is taking place as appropriate.
"Our focus now is on controlling these outbreaks and taking action as necessary.
"We also need people to continue to follow our public health advice and avoid crowds, especially indoors, and limit the number of people you meet.
"The Department of Health and HSE launched the next phase of our communications campaign today encouraging people to keep up the protective behaviours of physical distancing, washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering where appropriate and downloading the COVID-19 Tracker app".