The country is said to be “in a mitigation phase” as the number of Covid-19 cases continued to rise throughout the month of December.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that every individual should consider themselves potentially infectious given the current levels of transmission in the community and that it is “essential that we all limit our contacts to our own household”.
It comes following the Government’s announcement of the move to a full Level 5 lockdown from midnight on Wednesday after just over three weeks of Level 3 restrictions in the lead up to and over the Christmas period.
On November 27, the Government agreed the phased approach to Level 3 of the Resilience and Recovery 2020 – 2021: Plan for living with Covid-19 with the Level 3 restrictions put in place from December 1, with a number of exceptions in place for the Christmas period.
The exceptions for the Christmas period were designed to support people to have a meaningful Christmas, however, increased socialisation and intergenerational mixing over the festive period led to a significant increase in cases in recent weeks.
In the week ending Sunday, December 6, following the first week of Level 3 restrictions, a total of 301 cases of Covid-19 were recorded nationally, 16 of which were in Cork.
Cork’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population was 38.1 and there were a total of 207 cases recorded in the 14-day period.
Nationally, there were 231 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, of which 28 were in ICU.
On December 13, a total of 429 cases were confirmed nationally, of which 20 were recorded in Cork.
The 14-day incidence rate in Cork was 26.2 and there were a total of 142 cases recorded in the 14 days up to December 12.
A total of 193 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 31 were in ICU.
The following week, on December 20, cases jumped significantly on the week previous with 764 cases confirmed.
There were 44 cases recorded in Cork with a 14-day incidence rate of 51.6 also recorded, a significant increase on the previous week.
A total of 280 cases were recorded in the 14-day period up to December 19.
There was also an increase in the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital on December 20, with 233 patients hospitalised with the virus, an increase of 40 on the previous week. A total of 29 patients were in ICU.
On December 27, a total of 744 confirmed cases were confirmed, of which 131 were in Cork.
The 14-day incidence rate more than tripled on the previous week, jumping from 51.6 to 162.5 and there were a total of 882 cases recorded in the 14-day period up to December 26.
There was a further increase in the number of people hospitalised with the virus, with 324 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, of which 26 were in ICU.
Yesterday, the Department of Health confirmed a further 1,718 cases of Covid-19 and an additional 13 deaths related to the virus.
There are now a total of 90,157 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and a total of 2,226 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.
Of the cases notified on Wednesday, 164 were in Cork.
The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population in Cork from December 16 to December 29 stands at 234.7 with a total of 1,274 cases recorded in Cork over the same 14-day period.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said that Ireland is “no longer in a containment phase and is once again in a mitigation phase”.
“Given the current levels of transmission in the community, every individual should consider themselves potentially infectious.
“It is essential that we all limit our contacts to our own household now, restrict our movements and do not give Covid-19 any further opportunities to spread.
“Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care. This is not the time to be visiting other houses,” he said.