The Department of Health has reported 4,799 further cases of COVID-19 in the State this afternoon.
As of 8am today, 467 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised nationally, of whom 104 are in critical care units.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that the level of disease and positivity rate amongst young adults has increased sharply in the last week.
“One in four people in the 16 to 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,” he said.
“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.”
Dr Holohan said that Christmas week is an important time for many, 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.