The number of people in Irish hospitals who have contracted COVID-19 has soared in recent days, the Department of Health has said.
Currently 1,127 hospital patients have tested positive for coronavirus - the highest number since February 2021.
Of them 52 people are being treated in ICU - up from 48 yesterday.
Caution still necessary
Professor of Immunology Christine Loscher told Newstalk said the figures were proof that people still need to be careful:
“We’ve always been concerned that the impact of COVID cases on the healthcare system will not just impact on people in hospital with COVID but also on all of the other services that are provided to other people with other illnesses and other needs in the hospital,” she said.
“So I guess it’s a concern particularly in the last couple of days to see the ICU figures change because that’s one that has been declining for the last number of months and it’s the first time that it’s started to go up [in a while].”
Last month the requirement to wear face masks in shops and on public transport came to an end. However, Professor Luke O’Neill said that he believed the Government was making a mistake:
"It’s still wintertime and the virus is still there,” he told The Anton Savage Show.
“We should still encourage people to wear masks in indoor settings… it’s just it's not going to be illegal anymore not to wear them.
“The ones we worry about now are the immunocompromised people… they’re very worried. Public transport is a big fearful place for them.
"We should mandate masks on public transport still, for instance… in my opinion anyway.”
Main image: St James's Hospital. Pictured St James Hospital in Dublin. Picture by: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland