The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 4 additional deaths related to Covid-19, bring to 2,158 the number of Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.
As of midnight Saturday, December 19, the HPSC had been notified of 764 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
There is now a total of 79,542 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.
Of the cases notified today 67% are under 45 years of age, while the median age is 34 years old.
284 cases were notified in Dublin, with 70 in Limerick, 52 in Donegal, 44 in Cork, 37 in Wexford and the remaining 277 cases are spread across another 20 counties.
As of 2pm today 233 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 29 are in ICU. There have been 15 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, the Department of Health said: “Every indicator of disease severity is moving in the wrong direction, more rapidly than we had anticipated.
"We have particularly strong concerns about the prospect of inter-generational mixing around the festive season.
"This would lead to very a serious pattern of disease, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and unnecessary deaths.”
He continued: “If you have been socialising in the past few weeks or over this weekend, consider your Christmas plans carefully. Is it responsible to meet with your family over 65 later this week, if you have not kept your contacts low?
"Should you cancel your plans? We have the very real prospect of Covid-19 vaccines on the horizon. Ensure that your loved ones stay alive to receive them, by keeping your distance from them if you have not restricted your movements to this point.
"As difficult as it may seem, staying away from older family this Christmas will protect them - and it would be an exceptional sacrifice made for the common good.”