The head of the HSE says Ireland is moving away from measuring COVID-19 infections.
Paul Reid was speaking as new contact tracing rules are in place for primary schools and crèches.
Contact tracing of close contacts will not be carried out, while those aged 12 or under - who are close contacts and are asymptomatic - will not have to restrict their movements.
Mr Reid told Newstalk Breakfast Ireland is moving into a new phase of the pandemic.
"It is a different phase we're in now - we're in a phase where we're moving towards... a transitionary phase.
"It's not eradication of the virus by any stretch, but it is a different phase."
"What we're are looking at, and planning for, is what I'd call a transitionary phase.
"We've heard many experts talk about moving from pandemic management to endemic, and what that looks like differently.
"So what we are seeing is... moving from measurement of infections, and the number of infections, to moving to how we monitor sickness in our communities - as happens with many other infectious diseases.
"From a health perspective, it is looking to assess symptomatic people and identify symptomatic people.
"We will continue to test for outbreaks and continue to do general surveillance.
"But it is moving from a kind of infection measurement to clinical assessment of sickness in the community.
"And part of that transition is to ensure that we do and give the full weight to non-COVID health services as well".
On changes to school contact tracing, he says this was taken on a balance of the risks.
"What we do have to do is take decisions based on the balance of the risks presented to us.
"And on the balance of the risks presented to us, what we are seeing is much lower levels of transmission in schools.
"It was around 15/16%, now less than 5%.
"But more importantly: children not predominantly becoming sick or indeed further transmission outside of the school setting.
"The balance of the risks for us is that having significant numbers of children - sometimes between 10 and 12,000 - out of school... is much higher risk".