The Department of Health has been notified of an additional 575 new cases of Covid-19 and a further 45 deaths.

There have now been a total of 4,181 Covid-19 related deaths here and 216,300 cases have been confirmed.

Of the deaths announced today, 41 happened in February and 4 in January.

The median age of those who died was 84 and the age range was 55-104 years.

Of the cases confirmed today, 272 are men and 298 are women, with 68% of those under the age 45. The median age is 32 years old.

Dublin accounted for 218 of today's confirmed cases, there were 38 in Galway, 35 in Louth, 27 in Limerick, 26 in Westmeath and the remaining 231 cases are spread across 20 other counties.

As of 8am today, 693 people with Covid-19 are in hospital. There were 37 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

The number of people being treated in ICU is 150, down six on yesterday's figure.

The number of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care accounts for almost half of Ireland's ICU capacity, according to a consultant at University Hospital Limerick.

Dr Catherine Motherway, who is also a former president of the Intensive Care Society, said that Covid-19 continues to place "a significant burden of disease" on the hospital system.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, she said the high rate of viral transmission increases the risk of new variants.

"This time last year we didn't know this was coming. We were witnessing the scenes in Italy, which were horrendous. Now we know that we have the vaccine. We know that we have better treatments. We know this as a preventable disease," she said.

Dr Motherway also said the vaccination of healthcare staff means the health system is "much safer".

She said there are a lot of people waiting for procedures to go ahead, which for many have been deferred for a long time due to the pandemic.

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Consultant in infectious diseases at St James's, Dr Cliona Ní Cheallaigh, said the situation there is "really, really tough".

She said it is incredibly challenging to run wards and keep people safe with high levels of community transmission of the virus.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Ní Cheallaigh said the new variant of the virus is hard to get on top of and there is a "pretty long spring ahead of us" until vaccination levels get higher.

The Chair of the NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said that although progress has slowed "we are still making progress".

In a tweet, Professor Philip Nolan said the number of symptomatic cases is falling and urged people to "keep going".

A total of 350,322 Covid-19 vaccine doses were given up to last Saturday, according to figures published by the HSE.

Of these, 219,899 were first doses and 130,423 were second doses. By Saturday, 13,783 people aged 85 years or older had received a first dose.

Of the vaccines administered, 311,741 were the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 33,634 were the AstraZeneca dose and 4,947 were Moderna vaccines.

 Additional reporting Fergal Bowers