The Department of Health has confirmed a further 2,193 cases of Covid-19 in the State on Tuesday.
There were 513 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Tuesday morning, with 97 of those in intensive care (ICU), according to the latest figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Tuesday’s update represents an increase in hospitalisations (up from 500) and a decrease in ICU patients (down from 99), compared with data published by the HSE on Monday night.
According to Monday's report, University Hospital Limerick (UHL) had the highest number of Covid-19 patients with 52 followed by St James's Hospital in Dublin (39) and Galway University Hospital (37).
On Tuesday chief medical officer Tony Holohan said he is “increasingly worried” about the rising incidence of the disease in the Republic. “Our primary focus now must be to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19,” he said.
“We are seeing a continuing increase in hospitalisation and intensive care admissions – a substantial amount of whom are not fully vaccinated – placing our frontline healthcare services, including non-Covid care, under significant pressure.
“It is essential that we do everything we can to break the chains of transmission of the Delta variant, in the community, in the workplace and in our homes. If you experience symptoms of Covid-19, even if you are vaccinated, please stay at home, isolate from others and arrange a free test immediately.
“If you have not done so already, please choose to protect yourself by availing of your free Covid-19 vaccine which will significantly reduce your risk of severe illness if you contract the disease,” said Dr Holohan.
“The vaccine, our best defence against Covid-19, is not the only tool we have to drive down the spread of the disease. Please continue to regularly wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, open windows and ensure spaces are well ventilated, wear masks on public transport, shops, indoor workplaces and crowded outdoor areas, and by keeping a safe 2m distance from others as much as possible.”
About 2,000 people have been registering for a Covid-19 vaccine daily over recent days, the HSE’s national director for the vaccination programme Damien McCallion has said.
He said that since Thursday the figures have doubled from about 800 to 1,000 people registering per day.
Mr McCallion also said a national campaign will run over the next 10 days encouraging those who have yet come forward for a Covid-19 vaccine to do so and that more than 60 per cent of the people being treated in intensive care are unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, the hospitality sector is seeking a two-week delay on enforcing new ticketing requirements for events in late bars and pubs which will see patrons required to acquire an electronic ticket an hour before admission.
There is also pushback from the sector over stipulations that congregations cannot occur outside venues, with the industry complaining that it has no role in controlling the public street, following talks with Government officials on Tuesday.
The industry was told that it will be expected to implement new regulations from the time they are signed into law, most likely this coming Thursday. Under the new regulations, electronic ticketing will be needed for events where there is dancing, and will have to be acquired an hour before an event starts.
However, the sector says it will need extra time to figure out how to implement the measures, and has raised serious concerns over several aspects. Live music events will not need a ticket, so long as there is no dancing.
“We’re asking for two weeks after the regulations have been signed,” Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association, told The Irish Times on Tuesday.
He said the pause was necessary to allow operators “get organised before they come into effect, to give the industry an opportunity to prepare. It’s only right they get an opportunity to respond to this”.
The talks on Tuesday were led by officials from the Department of Culture, with the involvement of the Department of Enterprise.
In Northern Ireland four further deaths of patients who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 have been reported. The region’s Department of Health has also reported another 1,124 cases of the virus. On Tuesday morning there were 358 patients with Covid-19 in hospital, of whom 34 were in intensive care. To date 2,625,815 vaccines have been administered in the North. – Additional reporting: PA