The Department of Health has been notified of 234 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases to 33,675.

There were two new coronavirus-related deaths which means the total number of people to have died from the virus in Ireland is 1,794.

Of today's cases 103 are in Dublin, 30 are in Donegal, Galway accounts for 22, 21 cases are in Cork, 13 in Wicklow, 12 in Louth, 9 in Kildare, and 8 in Meath. The remaining 17 cases are spread across 10 counties.

34 cases have been identified as community transmission.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: "The single most important thing that people all across the country need to do now is to reduce their social contacts. 

"We all need to cut down on discretionary social activities. Meeting fewer people means fewer opportunities for the virus to transmit. Please prioritise who you choose to meet and try to keep your social network as small as possible."

He said the National Public Health Emergency Team has particular concerns about Louth, Waterford and Donegal in particular has high incidence.

Over one in three cases in Donegal are in people aged 15-24 years of age, with a large number of family and extended family outbreaks, Dr Glynn explained.

He said we are moving into the second chapter and have choices to make - either hard ones at an individual level or much more difficult ones at a societal level in the weeks and months to come.

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Dr Glynn said it is clear from the data that people are dropping their guard with their friends and families, which is a normal part of living, but we have to take appropriate measures to protect each other.

He said the narrative that we are not living with the virus at the moment is completely incorrect.

He said pubs are closed in Dublin, but they are open elsewhere, people are going to work or working from home, children are going to school and all our other health care services are up and running, all in the context of a pandemic.

He said sometimes we focus on the small but significant element of society that is not open to us.

He said they can't make a recommendation on public health terms based on whether an industry is struggling or not.

Dr Glynn commented that clusters in households are an entirely normal part of dealing with infectious disease like Covid-19.

However, he said: "It has to get into households in the first place and it's households mingling together in other social settings outside, inside, in restaurants, in bars, in other social settings, in workplaces".

'More contact tracers needed'

Separately, National Clinical Lead for the Contact Tracing Programme Dr Sarah Doyle said more contact tracers are needed to create a more sustainable workforce in the programme.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One, Dr Doyle said at present there is in the region of 280 contact tracers and there is a recruitment under way to increase the number of tracers. 

Dr Doyle said that last Spring the numbers were higher as many contact tracers had been available from many areas of the public and higher education sectors.

The median turnaround time for contact tracing is currently 1.9 days, she said, adding that the large volume of close contacts being identified through the contact tracing in schools has had an impact on the turnaround times. Processes are being developed an streamlined in response to this, she explained.