Ireland's health system is under "increasing strain" with a record 1,421 coronavirus patients being treated in hospitals, the HSE chief has warned.
Paul Reid said the best support the public can now give to health workers is to avoid getting sick with Covid-19.
Mr Reid said: "There's now 1,421 people in hospital with #Covid19 (+136 today) & 120 in ICU.
"Our health system is under increasing strain. The best support we can all now give, is to avoid getting sick with Covid.
"This will help to get us out the other side of this."
The number of people hospitalised due to the virus has more than quadrupled in the past two weeks, as 321 people were in hospital with the virus on December 27.
There were 136 additional admissions to hospitals in the past 24 hours.
Some 121 people are being treated for the virus in intensive care units (ICUs) with 17 admissions in the last 24 hours.
There's now 1,421 people in hospital with #COVID19 (+136 today) & 120 in ICU. Our health system is under increasing strain.The best support we can all now give, is to avoid getting sick with Covid.This will help to get us out the other side of this. #StayHome #StaySafe @HSELive— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) January 10, 2021
It comes as nine further deaths and an additional 4,842 new cases of the virus were confirmed on Saturday.
Hospital staff are bracing themselves for a surge in coronavirus patients as the number of cases escalate.
Latest figures show that last night, 126 people with Covid-19 were being treated at Cork University Hospital- the highest figure for any hospital in the country.
Thirty-six people with Covid-19 were being treated at the Mercy University Hospital.
Ireland's 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population now stands at 1,162.
The reproduction number of the virus is now between 2.4 and 3, the highest level seen throughout the pandemic.