Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the rising number of Covid-19 cases was very serious, adding that he had been concerned about the Delta variant for some time.
“This is another turn in the Covid-19 journey and there will be high case numbers that will continue to grow,” he said.
His comments come after the Department of Health reported 1,377 additional cases of the virus.
The number of people in the intensive care unit has fallen by one to 22.
On this day last week, 16 patients were in intensive care units.
The department said daily case numbers may change due to future data review, validation and updating.
The Taoiseach added that as the number of cases increases, we need to “keep an eye on hospitalizations, illness and mortality”.
Mr. Martin is supposed to meet Chief Medical Officer Dr. Meet Tony Holohan and other public health figures.
They will discuss the recent surge in cases and look ahead to the situation expected in August and September.
However, he said that we are in a very different scenario than we were a year ago as over 60% of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated.
He said officials need to take a fresh look at where prevalence is highest and which age cohorts are affected, and consider the strategies needed to reduce infection rates.
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Health officials previously urged people waiting for a full vaccination to “take all precautions” this weekend after Ireland reported the highest daily total of Covid-19 cases in more than five months.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn said the incidence rate in Ireland has risen to 180 per 100,000 cases, with high case numbers translating into increasing numbers in hospitals and intensive care units.
At 8 a.m. there were 78 patients with Covid-19 in the hospital, a decline yesterday at the same time. Compared to 52 that day last week.
In a post on Twitter, Dr. Glynn that while people “took great hope from the fact that our vaccination program is being rolled out quickly,” there are still over two and a half million adults who are not fully protected or not adequately protected by vaccination.
He urged people who have not yet been vaccinated to be careful with indoors and not hang out with other people indoors if it can be avoided.
He also urged anyone with cold or flu symptoms – such as a headache, runny nose, congested sinuses, sore throat – to take a Covid-19 test.
As we enjoy the fine weather, it is important that we continue to follow public health advice and socialize safely. #ForUsAll #HoldFirm # COVID19
– Dr. Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) July 17, 2021
The National Public Health Emergency Team said the number of cases among 16 to 34 year olds has increased sharply.
Dr. Holohan said Covid-19 cases are increasing in 22 out of 26 counties.
Nearly 1,200 new cases were reported to the Ministry of Health yesterday.
Northern Ireland has reported 1,400 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, as well as two other coronavirus-related deaths.
If you are out and about this weekend, please remember to keep a distance of 2 meters from others, wear a face covering, and maintain good hand hygiene to prevent the spread of # COVID19. #WeCanDoThis #ForUsAll pic.twitter.com/bLB2AU7cjp
– HSE Ireland (@HSELive) July 17, 2021
Previously, Paul Reid, Executive CEO of Health Service said 63% of adults are fully vaccinated, with 76% receiving one dose.
In a post on Twitter, he said hospitalizations and ICU admissions “hold up”.
Slightly optimistic and a cautionary update. Over 5.1 million vaccines have now been administered. 63% of adults are now fully vaccinated and 76% are partially vaccinated. Very high test values yesterday with 8.4% positivity. But hospital stays and intensive care units hold up well. Enjoy the sun and take care of yourself. @HSELive
– Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) July 17, 2021
Here are today’s open walk-in # COVID19 test centers: https://t.co/LXtmyGgjAv pic.twitter.com/A0taJrSAcA
– HSE Ireland (@HSELive) July 17, 2021
Concerns about indoor dining
A consultant pediatrician at Bon Secours Hospital in Cork said she was “really, really concerned” that if the indoor dining is not done properly, the reopening of schools after the summer break could be affected.
As part of RTÉ’s Brendan O’Connor program, Dr. Niamh Lynch said she was concerned that resuming indoor hospitality could lead to an increase in Covid-19 case numbers if not done properly.
“And if we have another spike in the numbers … one of the first responses is people turn around and say schools are not safe,” she said.
“I would hope that by this time, six or seven weeks after the schools reopen, the schools will be full of people evaluating their buildings, installing CO2 monitors, and ensuring adequate ventilation. I don’t see much evidence of this, but that should happen, “she said.
Dr. Lynch said she understands why the hospitality industry wants to reopen, but said Covid-19 was “not really interested in the economy.”
“It’s always evolving, it just wants to go host to host,” she said. “It’s a pack of protein, it doesn’t matter if we are fed up or not.”
Cuba is to be included in the mandatory quarantine list
Meanwhile, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has announced that Cuba will be added to the list of states that require mandatory hotel quarantine.
Persons who have been to or have traveled through any of the countries on the list in the past 14 days entering Ireland must enter the MHQ.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health said Cuba would soon be added to the booking system for the MHQ, with passengers from Cuba being quarantined from 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
Further information on the MHQ can be found at www.gov.ie/quarantine.
Mr Donnelly has also removed 34 countries from the list with immediate effect.
They are: Afghanistan, Angola, Bahrain, Burundi; Cape Verde, Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia; French Guiana, Guyana, Haiti.
Kenya, Kyrgyzstan; Lesotho; Malawi, Maldives, Mongolia; Nepal; Oman.
Panama, Philippines; Qatar; Rwanda; Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan; Tanzania, Turkey; United Arab Emirates; Venezuela; Zambia.
Anyone traveling to Ireland should check www.gov.ie/travel for the latest information on their country of origin.