The chief of the health service has said it is “time for us all to hit the reset button” as Covid hospitalisations in Ireland near the 500-patient mark.
There are 482 patients hospitalised with the disease as of Monday morning, with 74 people in intensive care.
76 new patients admitted on Sunday was the highest daily figure since early February.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid urged those who remain unvaccinated against the virus, and consequently at a “higher risk”, to “do the right thing”.
“For the rest of us, time to do the basics well again,” he added.
It comes as the HSE told The Irish Times it has no immediate plans to deploy surge capacity in response to increasing pressure on intensive care (ICU) beds.
Just 11 ICU adult beds and one paediatric ICU bed were available in hospitals across the State on Sunday night as Covid-19 patients accounted for more than a quarter of total capacity. Seventeen hospitals had no free ICU beds.
“The safety-net option of being able to scale additional beds up to provide intensive care remains in place,” a HSE spokesman said, but this is “not happening at the moment”.
However, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said there were “significant capacity issues” in ICU and many hospitals were preparing to scale up surge capacity.
Extra capacity would have to be found in the private sector as the situation in acute hospitals was becoming “increasingly dangerous” for patients and staff, the union said.
Meanwhile in non-Covid care, there were 460 people waiting on beds in public hospitals on Monday morning.
362 people were in emergency departments, while 98 were on trolleys elsewhere in hospitals.
There were 59 patients waiting on a bed at University Hospital Limerick, the highest in the country, followed by 52 at Letterkenny University Hospital and 47 at University Hospital Galway.
Amid pressures on the hospital system, there is said to be no decision on the easing of further Covid restrictions ahead of advice expected to be provided by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) which is to meet today.
The Government is also keen to expand the vaccine booster programme to more vulnerable groups. However, the “green light” from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) is awaited on this. Niac also meets on Monday.
The number of new Covid-19 cases dropped to 1,380 on Sunday, following the nine-month high of 2,180 cases recorded on Saturday.