A further 17,656 COVID cases have been announced this evening.
This morning, there were 928 COVID patients in hospital – up 44 on yesterday and 360 on this day last week.
There were 94 in intensive care, which is four more than yesterday and one more than last week.
The five-day moving average has fallen to 19,259 – the first time it has dropped in 10 days.
On The Pat Kenny Show yesterday, the HSE CEO Paul Reid said there was ‘no doubt’ that more people are now testing positive for COVID-19 while in hospital for other reasons.
Some 40 new deaths have been notified in the past week, taking the death toll in Ireland to 5,952.
The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the rising hospital figures are concerning.
“This means that our collective efforts to follow the public health advice remain very important,” he said.
“I know that many have sacrificed valuable time with friends and family to protect themselves and the wider community. These continued efforts are helping to slow the spread of this virus and will protect many from infection in the next few weeks.”
He said vaccine boosters will protect the majority of people from severe disease.
“The booster programme is now open to everyone aged 16 and over,” he said. “If you are not yet fully vaccinated or are yet to receive a booster dose, please take this opportunity to protect yourself as soon as possible.
“The best way for all of us to stay safe and to continue to protect our loved ones over the coming weeks is to isolate immediately if symptomatic, to keep your social contacts as low as possible, to avoid high risk activities and poorly ventilated environments and to continue to follow all of the public health measures that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19.”
It comes after the Taoiseach said he expects boosters to become a requirement for entering hospitality “in the fullness of time”.
Currently, booster doses are not recorded on COVID certs; however, the Government this afternoon confirmed that they will be updated in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Vaccinated passengers will no longer need to have a negative COVID-19 test result to enter Ireland, under new rules approved by Cabinet today.