The highest daily number of coronavirus cases since May was announced today with 217 new cases. It brings the total number of official cases in Ireland to 29,025.

There were no further deaths from the coronavirus, meaning the death toll remains at 1,777.

Of the cases notified today, 103 are men and 113 are women, with 70% of cases in people under 45 years of age.

The breakdown of today's cases is: 103 in Dublin, 25 in Kildare, 17 in Limerick, 17 in Tipperary, seven in Waterford, seven in Wicklow, six in Clare, and five in Louth.

The remaining 30 are located in Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kilkenny, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Westmeath and Wexford.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: "While the number of cases today is the highest daily reported figure since May, the five-day moving average remains relatively stable at 115 cases per day.

"However this is still a substantial number of cases.

"I urge everyone to double down on their efforts now - wash hands regularly, physically distance, wear face coverings where appropriate, avoid crowded areas, know the symptoms, isolate, contact a GP if you have any concerns."

In Northern Ireland, 49 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed today taking the total number of cases to 7,294.

There has been no further deaths in the region meaning the total number of deaths remains at 560.

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There are currently 18 patients in hospital in Northern Ireland with Covid-19, with three in ICU.

There has been a small increase in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in hospitals in the Republic. 

There were 35 patients in hospital overnight with confirmed Covid-19, up two on the previous day. Six of these patients are in ICU. 

The number of suspected cases has also increased from 70 to 109, according to figures from the HSE, with 11 of these patients in ICU. 

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Meanwhile, some hospitals are beginning to see increased levels of overcrowding in their emergency departments, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. 

It reports that there are 43 patients waiting at Cork University Hospital and 32 at University Hospital Limerick today. 

Overall, the INMO says there are 206 patients waiting in emergency departments, or on wards for admission to a bed today. 

The HSE puts the figure lower at 167 patients. 

Flu vaccination programme expanded this year

An expanded flu vaccination programme is set to roll out across the country this autumn.

The Department of Health has said the expansion is to protect society and the health service from any surge in Covid-19 cases occurring at the same time as a spike in flu infections.

The aim of the extended programme is to reduce the overall spread of flu in the community and reduce flu-related hospital admissions through increased vaccination in vulnerable groups, according to the Department.

The department said that all of those in at-risk groups, including healthcare workers, will be able to get the vaccination free of charge.

All children aged from 2-12 can also get the vaccination free of charge.

The vaccine will be administered to children through nasal drops rather than an injection.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: "The health service is entering a challenging winter period, in the midst of a global pandemic.

"It's important that we make every effort collectively to limit the impact on the health service over the coming months.

"The vaccine will be available from your GP or your pharmacist, and I would urge everyone to get the vaccine this winter."

The expanded seasonal vaccination programme is estimated to cost €65m.