The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will meet tomorrow to consider further recommendations to Government in light of the recent rise in Covid-19 cases nationwide, the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has said.
Dr Glynn's comments come as a further 66 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the country today, bringing the total number of cases to 27,257.
There have been no new deaths reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre meaning the total number of deaths remains at 1,774.
Yesterday 200 additional cases of Covid-19 were confirmed. It was the largest number of cases in a single day since the beginning of May.
"NPHET will meet tomorrow to review and discuss the case figures that have been reported in recent days and will make any necessary recommendations to Government which are required to protect the vulnerable, continue with the resumption of healthcare services and ensure the safe reopening of our schools," said Dr Glynn.
"The phased reopening of the country has afforded people the opportunity to socialise with each other again. However, some are doing this recklessly and undermining the efforts of the majority of people around the country who are following public health advice. This cannot continue.
"This pandemic isn't over just because we are tired of living with it," said Dr Glynn.
Dr Glynn said that every single county has had at least a couple of cases of the virus over the past 14 days.
He said the re-opening of schools would be part of tomorrow's considerations.
Dr Glynn said there have been almost 1,100 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in the last 14 days.
Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Dr Glynn said our 14-day incidence rate was now running at 23 per 100,000 of population, which he described as "a very significant increase and an escalation on where we were".
In relation to the national spread of the virus, Dr Glynn said that beyond the clusters of cases identified in the midlands, "we are seeing a dispersion of cases in every county and in every region in the country".
"So we [NPHET] will need to consider what needs to be done in that context," Dr Glynn added, however he would not speculate as to what those measures may be.
In a statement, the Government said there will be a further analysis of the situation ahead of the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19, which will meet again on Tuesday.
Of the cases notified today 34 are men and 29 are women. 67% are under 45 years of age.
Of today's cases, 12 are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case, three cases have been identified as community transmission and the remainder of these cases are still under investigation.
The breakdown of the cases is: 21 in Kildare, 16 in Dublin, six in Limerick, and the rest of the 23 cases are in Clare, Donegal, Laois, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Wicklow.
In Northern Ireland, there have been 27 further Covid-19 cases confirmed.
The cases take the total in the region since the outbreak began to 6,391.
The Northern Ireland Department of Health dashboard that collates the coronavirus statistics does not update the death toll over the weekend.
When last updated on Friday, the toll stood at 558.
Plans to reopen schools remains on track, says Donnelly
The Minister for Health has said the plan to reopen schools remains on track despite the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
Stephen Donnelly said "reopening the schools in full is still a top priority of this Government" and he said it is one of the reasons why various decisions have been taken in line with public health advice over the last few weeks.
He said "we have been taking a cautious approach" but he said as countries relax the measures that have been put in place to suppress the virus, it is spreading and that is happening in Ireland too.
Minister Donnelly said "for now, the opening of the schools is absolutely still on track" but he said "this is a vicious virus and it is a dynamic situation".
He said the Government and public health doctors are concerned about the increase in cases of the virus.
Mr Donnelly also confirmed that serial Covid-19 testing will begin later this week at Direct Provision Centres and meat processing plants. It follows recent clusters of cases in these settings.
A number of our recent cases/clusters were in congregated settings such as Direct Provision & Meat Processing Plants. We'll start serial testing people in DIrect Provision centres (about 7,500) later this week 1/2— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) August 16, 2020
He also said there have been cases in every county over the last two weeks and he said there is community transmission.
"There have been cases from numerous different types of workplaces, numerous different types of social activities including sports, restaurants and cafes, and a lot from households as well," said Mr Donnelly.