The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital has topped 1,600, which the head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) said is causing “huge stress” on the system.
Paul Reid has renewed calls for the public to wear masks “appropriately” in response to the increased prevalence of the virus.
As of 8am on Monday, there were 1,624 people with Covid-19 in hospitals, up from 1,569 on Saturday.
There were 157 new admissions over the past 24 hours, with 59 discharges, according to data from the Government’s Covid hub.
The number of hospitalised Covid patients has been increasing steadily in recent weeks, as the highly-transmissible BA.2 variant of the virus became dominant, now accounting for almost 95 per cent of cases.
|Confirmed cases in hospital||Confirmed cases in ICU|
However, hospitalisations are typically higher on Monday mornings, as a result of delayed discharges over the weekend.
Mr Reid said the number of Covid-positive patients in hospital “is causing huge stress on the healthcare system”.
“We need to turn this tide again asap [as soon as possible] and repeat doing the basics. Please wear your mask appropriately, come forward for your booster or primary vaccine and isolate if [you have] symptoms,” he said on Twitter.
Virologist Gerald Barry also expressed support to reintroduce protective measures, such as mask-wearing, ventilation and good air quality.
“These new waves are reality,” he told RTÉ’s Radio One, saying it was not a situation where society could “just sit back” and allow repeated waves of the virus to “wash over us”.
Dr Barry said the BA.2 variant was the most infectious virus he had ever seen and the easing of restrictions had created an environment that allowed it to spread.
Members of Government and chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan have indicated there is no need to reintroduce public health restrictions.