The number of COVID patients in hospital had fallen by 33 in the last 24 hours, according to the latest HSE figures.
The 460 recorded this morning marks an 8.5% drop on the 503 recorded this day last week.
There were 86 patients in intensive care this morning – down 15% on this day last week.
Last night, officials announced a further 3,726 new cases – the highest figure since January 14th.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the HSE CCO Dr Colm Henry said the high case figures are “certainly worrying” but noted that the vaccine is continuing to protect people.
“What is holding tight is the protection the vaccine programme is giving to the most vulnerable groups,” he said.
“So, even though our hospitals are under sustained pressure we haven’t seen a corresponding rise in hospitalisations or in people being admitted to ICU with COVID.”
Also on the show, DCU Immunology Professor Christine Loscher said the figures highlight the need for widespread use of antigen testing.
She said the tests should be freely available, with everyone in Ireland self-testing twice a week.
This morning, Newstalk revealed that 10% of people in eight different counties are still not fully vaccinated.
Monaghan and Donegal have the lowest vaccine rates in the country while Waterford and Carlow have the highest.