The Department of Health has confirmed 442 new cases of Covid-19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 36,597.

Four further deaths have occurred. There has now been a total of 1,806 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

Of the cases notified today, 225 are men and 217 are women, 67% are under 45 years of age.

The breakdown of the cases is: 170 in Dublin, 47 in Cork, 28 in Donegal, 23 in Meath, 21 in Galway, 20 in Monaghan, 14 in Clare, 12 in Roscommon, 11 in Laois, 11 in Longford, ten in Cavan, ten in Limerick, ten in Tipperary, nine in Kildare, eight in Wicklow, five in Louth and five in Wexford, with the remaining 28 cases in nine counties.

The latest figures come as the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended restricting the number of visitors to households nationwide, which the Government has accepted.

NPHET has recommended that a maximum of six people only from a single household should be allowed visit another home nationwide.

This rule currently applies in Dublin and Donegal, which are on Level 3 restrictions, but up until now six people from three households could visit another home in other counties, which are on Level 2.

NPHET has also recommended that no counties are to see a change in their restrictions level this week, meaning no other counties will be elevated to Level 3.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that public health doctors are seeing more cases and more clusters linked with socialisation.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, he said that 57 cases had been linked to one café restaurant in Cork.

He said the advice being issued this evening means having only one other household to one's home.

Dr Glynn said that if people are meeting up at a bar or restaurant, they should only meet up with people from one other household at any one time.

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Dr Glynn said there have been more than 4,500 cases of Covid-19 nationally over the last fortnight and the pattern of severity and pattern of impact is changing.

He said that what is particularly concerning for NPHET are the indicators of disease severity and the pattern of those indicators that it is seeing.

Dr Glynn said that tonight there are 120 people in hospital across the country being treated for Covid-19 compared to 36 on 1 September and just eight on 1 August.

There are 20 people in critical care. Dr Glynn said there were 32 deaths in September compared to just four in August.

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Earlier today, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that members of NPHET look at a "lot more than cases" when they are deciding about imposing restrictions.

He was responding to quotes from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who had questioned if Ireland is using the right criteria to make far-reaching decisions around restrictions and economic lockdowns.

In an interview published today on The Currency website, the Enterprise Minister said: "What I see other countries doing - Belgium is the most recent example - is that they are no longer using case numbers to make their decisions on restrictions and policy.

"They are looking at hospitalisations, ICU capacity and deaths. It is a job for us as politicians to say to the public health people that maybe we should be focusing on that."

Minister Donnelly also said he welcomed news that Dr Tony Holohan will resume his role as Chief Medical Officer next week.

Public health officials have flagged concerns about Cork, Galway, Roscommon and Monaghan, where cases have increased.

Another 259 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland today, the Department of Health said, bringing the total number of infections to 11,952.

Almost 2,000 have been diagnosed in the last seven days. Two more deaths were also reported today, taking the total to 581.

Meanwhile, HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has said it was important that we do not stigmatise parts of society in relation to Covid-19.

"Blame has shifted from travel, meat plants, direct provision, schools and young people. The virus doesn't discriminate as it transmits in the community," he said on Twitter.

"Stigmatising has hurt our society in the past."

The latest 14-day infection rates show Monaghan has 133.6 cases for every 100,000 people, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Roscommon is on 102.3 and Cork at 81.2. These counties are followed by Louth on 76.8, Longford 73.4 and Galway on 73.2 cases for every 100,000 people.

Donegal, now under Level 3 restrictions, is at 211.1, while Dublin, also at Level 3, has 159.3 cases for every 100,000 people.

One part of Donegal - the Lifford-Stranorlar Local Electoral Area - has a 14-day incidence rate that is almost seven times higher than the national figure.

During the two week period between 15 September and 28 September, that area had a rate of 602.6 per 100,000 people.

The national 14-day rate for the two weeks to last Monday was 88.2 per 100,000 people.

The Celbridge LEA in Co Kildare had a rate of 3-5.2, while the 14-day rate for Kimmage-Rathmines in Dublin was 282.8 per 100,000 people.

Elsewhere the Tánaiste has said it is difficult to know how the second wave of Covid-19 will impact the economy.

Leo Varadkar was speaking on The Next Normal tonight which revealed details of a national poll commissioned by RTÉ.

Mr Varadkar said he does not think the pandemic can lead to a lost decade.

He said the second wave will subside but there may be more waves which are "worryingly economically".

Mr Varadkar said the pandemic has affected people in different ways and those who have lost their business will need help, which he said the Budget should focus on.

He said the economy can bounce back as we get past the pandemic.

Reporting Mícheál Lehane, Fergal Bowers and Fergal O'Brien