The Department of Health has confirmed 4,181 new cases of Covid-19.

There are 668 patients in hospital with the virus, up 28 on the same time yesterday.

Of these, 125 people are being treated in ICU, up four from yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Officer has warned that the current level of Covid-19 is placing an enormous burden on the entire health system.

Dr Tony Holohan said the virus is having a negative impact on the health of people, with non-Covid care continuing to be severely impacted.

However, in a statement issued today he said small but vital individual and collective actions can turn the current situation around.

As cases of Covid-19 continue to increase - the Chief Medical Officer renewed his appeal to heed the basic public health guidelines - to break the chains of transmission.

"We can change the trajectory of this disease. Small changes, by all of us, will make a big difference collectively," he said.

Dr Holohan said the impact of the current sudden and unsustainable surge of infection is being felt from public health to general practice to acute hospitals.

However, he said the disease trajectory can be altered, if everyone makes small changes, to make a big difference collectively, especially on the number of people who end up seriously ill and in hospital in mid-December.

"We are all, understandably, very tired of this pandemic," he said.

"Time and again we have asked the Irish people to take on board public health messaging and act for the collective good. And time and again the vast majority have listened to that message and responded."

The CMO has urged people to focus on five actions.

Isolating and getting a PCR test if cold or flu symptoms develop, prioritising who you need to meet to reduce contacts - including working from home unless necessary to attend in person.

He advises meeting outdoors and opening windows when indoors along with mask wearing in crowded outdoor or indoor environments as well as using the right test - such as antigen testing only if symptom free.

Dr Holohan said it was important that people avail of their offer of a vaccine booster dose.

His comments came as almost 6,000 new cases were announced yesterday - the highest level in more than 10 months - with the seven-day average at 4,309 cases.

Meanwhile, the HSE's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry, has said the whole healthcare system is under "extraordinary strain" from the sheer volume of cases.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, Dr Henry said he cannot over-emphasise how pressurised the environment is for healthcare staff. who are providing care both within ICU and to over 300 patients outside ICU with enhanced respiratory support.

"The single most important thing I would say to people if there is a delay in accessing your test is to stay at home and self-isolate while you await your PCR test," Dr Henry said.

Dr Henry said the first two vaccine doses provide protection from serious illness but the booster is essential.

He added that the world is learning more about the virus, vaccines, and how immunity wanes.


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