A survey of GPs shows that the majority of patients who had contacted them with COVID-like symptoms in the past week had not been self-isolating.
That is according to the Department of Health who confirmed 38 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday evening, bringing the total number to 26,065.
Of those latest cases, 82% have been contracted by people under the age of 45, with the median age being 30.
Cork GP Dr Doireann O'Leary told Newstalk Breakfast there is a worrying rise in the number of people not taking their symptoms seriously.
She said: "If I'm speaking to a patient on a telephone consultation and they're describing their symptoms to me, if I say to a patient they need a COVID test, most people are surprised by it.
"They are saying, 'I probably just have hayfever or just a typical common cold'.
"People do seem to think it's something that's not going to happen to them so because of that they aren't isolating.
She said this means it can be difficult to convince people they need a test, along with the added hurdle of telling people they need to self-isolate.
Dr O'Leary said she didn't think people were being deliberately careless or reckless but that there is "a real sense among people that this virus isn't something that's going to affect them or their lives".
She added: "It has been challenging to really get the public to take on board that this could happen to them."
She said this had been "eye-opening" given that people are aware of the prevalence of coronavirus in Ireland.
Dr O'Leary said the winter flu season will be very busy with the common cold, influenza and COVID-19.
View this post on Instagram
We’re going to face a unique set of challenges this winter. We’re going to be dealing with flu season, increased rates of coughs and colds as well as covid19 . Some people will become more sick than others this winter. Vulnerable patients may need hospitalisation and or admission to intensive care . We need to keep rates of respiratory illnesses as low as possible this year so that hospital beds and ICU care is available for anyone who needs it. One of the most important things you can do to help is get the flu vaccine #fluseason
She said: "We are going to have a very busy and challenging winter ahead.
"One of the things that will hopefully make this easier is the wider availability of the flu vaccine this year."
She said that a nasal spray vaccine will be freely available for children aged two to twelve and should help to create a herd immunity against influenza later this year.