104 people are in ICUs across Ireland right now.
4,799 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed today.
467 patients are in hospital with the virus, up 31 from yesterday, while the ICU figure has fallen three to 104.
The chief medical officer says the level of disease among young adults has risen sharply in the past week.
One in four people in the 16 to 34 age-group who are going for a PCR test, are getting a positive result.
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:
“The level of disease and positivity rate amongst young adults has increased sharply in the last week. One in four people in the 16 – 34-year-old age group that are going for a PCR test have received a “detected” result. This is one of the highest rates since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This high level of disease in young people represents a high risk to those they come into contact with who have yet to be vaccinated or receive their booster. Therefore, if you have not yet received your booster you are best to avoid unnecessary contact with people outside your household.
“Christmas week is an important time for many of us. However, it is also a time that presents unique opportunities for COVID to spread because of the possible extent of inter-household and inter-generational mixing. Each of us can take actions this week to protect ourselves and our loved ones, even if this means rethinking plans for the Christmas period, especially if you are not yet boosted or vaccinated.
“As difficult as it may seem, limiting as much as possible your Christmas to small numbers and very close family will protect them. This is an exceptional sacrifice to ask after the very difficult year all of us have had, so please remember that it may be the decision that protects yourself or a loved one from the severe impacts of COVID-19.
“It's also a concern that our latest Amarach tracking data shows that only half of people with symptoms are isolating. This is the single most important piece of basic public health advice - it is vital that you isolate as soon as you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and arrange a PCR test. Do not meet up with others and put them at risk of COVID-19 or another respiratory infection. Do not rely on a negative antigen test as a basis for not isolating.”