The Department of Health has confirmed of a further 484 new cases today, of which 40 are in Cork.
A total of three additional deaths related to Covid-19 have also been confirmed.
There have been a total of 2,143 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland and there has now been a total of 77,678 confirmed cases in Ireland.
Of the cases notified today 246 are men and 238 are women with 59% under 45 years of age. The median age is 37 years old.
Out of today’s cases, 40 are in Cork, 150 in Dublin, 45 in Wexford, 32 in Donegal, 29 in Limerick and the remaining 188 cases are spread across 20 other counties.
Cork’s 14-day incidence rate up to December 16 is 34.4 and there have been a total of 187 cases reported in the county over the same period.
As of 2pm today, 200 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 31 are in ICU and there have been 30 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said that the five-day moving average is 387 per day which is “an indicator that the disease is moving quickly when compared to the previous five-day average”.
“The virus is spreading throughout the country, in all age groups,” he said.
He warned of reports of outbreaks in social settings including workplace settings, Christmas parties and funerals.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to limit your interactions now. The consequences of not doing so will be exponential growth in January, a substantial increase in hospitalisations and risk to life,” he said.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said that the virus represents “a significant threat to people’s ability to enjoy the Christmas and New Year period” and asked people to think about each of their social contacts and consider whether now is the time to be meeting with them.
“Meet up outside where possible and avoid all crowded settings. If you have symptoms please isolate immediately and contact your GP without delay, do not go to work and do not meet up with other people. If you are identified as a close contact it is vital that you restrict your movements,” he said.
The reproduction number is now estimated between 1.1 to 1.3 with Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan, saying he is “concerned that Ireland is now in a phase of rapid growth, which if allowed continue, will result in 700 to 1200 cases per day by the second week in January, if not sooner”.
“We are particularly concerned about older people and vulnerable adults, who have protected themselves through the second wave, and are now at risk during the festive season,” he said.