The Department of Health has been notified of a further 1,789 new cases of Covid-19.

The number of people in hospital for the virus now stands at 360, of whom 56 are being treated in ICU.

The cumulative number of deaths of those with Covid-19 has also risen to 5,112, after the Department was notified of 20 deaths in the past week.

The figures come as the Government has been told by the National Public Health Emergency Team that Ireland could see a peak of 2,500-3,000 Covid-19 cases a day by mid September, in an optimistic scenario.

NPHET said that this may result in peaks in healthcare demand, with possibly 500-700 patients in hospital with the virus and between 80-130 in intensive care.

In its latest letter to Government it said that the situation will get worse, before it improves, adding that the biggest risk is for those who are not yet vaccinated.

It also warned of the uncertainty regarding the impact of any new variants of the virus.

Previous modelling by NPHET for July to September put the optimistic numbers at 1,530 hospitalisations and 250 deaths.

While trends in September have still to be seen, so far these hospital numbers have been below what was projected.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that NPHET presented four potential models to the Government last week, with the most optimistic modelling predicting that things will improve relatively quickly, while three other models predicted Covid-19 cases continuing to rise until mid October before stabilising.

With this in mind, he said, the Government chose 22 October as the right time to lift restrictions, which allows time to examine the impact of schools reopening and people returning to the office, while 90% of people over 16 should be vaccinated by then.

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Consultant in infectious diseases at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Professor Sam McConkey has said he believes everyone will need a booster vaccine in the future.

He added that vaccines could be tweaked slightly against new Covid-19 strains.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne programme, Prof McConkey said: "As soon as BioNtech, the company that made the first RNA vaccines that Pfizer have developed and spread around the world, as soon as they're seeing a new variant, they'll be starting to make the vaccine and create the messenger RNA vaccine that will counteract that new strain."

He said the vaccine companies will be developing "prototype batch lots and the ingredients that they need to make new variants of vaccine that are able to counter, hopefully, effectively against these new strains."

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, nine further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 have been reported.

The Department of Health said there had also been 1,472 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hour reporting period.

This morning, there were 418 Covid-positive patients in hospital, with 46 in intensive care in Northern Ireland. So far, 2,449,587 vaccines have been administered.