A Cork GP has warned that people need to double down on the standard public health measures with weeks left to stay ahead of the current surge of Covid-19 cases.
It comes as 1377 cases were recorded on Saturday.
Member of the National Public Emergency Team (NPHET) Mary Favier said the country is “two to three or four weeks away from the peak” of the current surge of Covid-19 cases.
Her comments come as Ireland reported just short of 1,000 cases on Thursday and a further 1,173 on Friday, the highest figure since February 20.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, she said: “What is different about this wave is we have vaccination; it is really effective but the concern is we don’t have our younger people vaccinated yet and there are some people, for whatever reason who have not put themselves forward for vaccination and they are of real concern as this surge rises.”
Dr Favier said that fully vaccinated people make up around one-in-20 of new cases of Covid-19 and that while the vaccination is “excellent and gives really good protection, it is not perfect”.
Now, what it is showing is that there is much less serious illness, there is much less hospitalisation and death among the vaccinated group who become positive but again, that is not complete either.
“So, we do need to maintain vigilance on all the other things which are the standard precautions like masks and hand hygiene – and if you are not fully vaccinated do not go to places which put you at risk. Do not do things that are inside; do not take your mask off.
“We have got two, three or four weeks to really try and stay ahead of this,” she said.
She said people need to be extra cautious in the coming week and double down on the standard public health measures like masks and handwashing.
“It is the summer, Irish people love the summer but we have just got to say this one has to be a cautious one and try and do as much as you can outside,” she said.
The last time the positivity rate, which is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that return positive results, was above 8% was on January 27 this year.
Paul Reid, Chief Executive of the HSE, said more than 5.1 million vaccines have now been administered to residents of the Republic, with 63% of adults fully vaccinated and 76% partially.
Mr Reid said on Saturday morning that hospital and intensive care admissions are “holding well”.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the national incidence of Covid has risen to more than 180 cases per 100,000 people, and the State is reporting a five-day average of more than 800 cases a day.
He said there is a particularly high incidence in people aged between 16 and 30, and the high case numbers are translating into increasing numbers in hospital and intensive care units.