The Department of Health has confirmed 1,751 new cases of Covid-19.

There are 343 people in hospital who have tested positive for the disease, 17 fewer than yesterday. Of these, 59 are receiving treatment in intensive care, a rise of three.

There were 100 Covid-19 outbreaks in the week to last Saturday, a small reduction on the previous week, according to the latest report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

In Northern Ireland, 12 people who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 have died.

The Department of Health also announced 793 new confirmed cases of the virus in the last 24-hour period.

As of this morning there were 417 Covid-positive patients in hospital, with 46 in intensive care.

So far, 2,452,955 vaccines have been administered in the region.

The average 7 day incidence rate per 100,000 is 496.0 The council area with the highest rate is Fermanagh and Omagh on 760.7, while the lowest is Ards and North Down on 363.0.

Meanwhile in the Republic, five outbreaks were reported in nursing homes, with 66 confirmed linked cases.

In workplaces, 27 outbreaks were reported, with 117 confirmed linked cases.

There were 11 outbreaks in childcare facilities with 34 linked cases.

Nine outbreaks occurred in acute hospitals and involved 53 linked cases.

Two outbreaks involved social gatherings and resulted in 25 linked cases.

Two travel-related outbreaks occurred, involving two flights, and resulted in nine confirmed linked cases.

No community hospital or long-term facilities reported outbreaks.

According to the latest data, there were 52 deaths linked to Covid-19 last month.

These figures are made up of confirmed, probable and possible Covid-19 deaths.

It compares with 16 deaths in July and 16 deaths in June.

Figures released yesterday show that there have been 5,112 deaths linked to Covid-19 in Ireland since the start of the pandemic.

It includes ten deaths which occurred and were reported in the week to last Saturday, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

The figures are interim as it can take some time before all deaths linked to Covid-19 are reported.

The number of people being treated in hospital for the virus has fallen slightly, according to the latest figures.

As of this morning, there were 343 patients with Covid-19, down 17 on the same time yesterday.

The number of patients with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care has increased by three to 59.

The figures came as the Government was 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.

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The HSE has said that from today, people who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca can now receive an mRNA (Pfizer/Moderna) vaccine as their second dose.

However, NIAC recommends that receiving two doses of the same vaccine are preferred for all age groups, where possible.

Those who wish to get an mRNA vaccine after their first dose of AstraZeneca can attend an mRNA dose 2 walk-in vaccination clinic, most of which will be offering Pfizer.

People can go to any mRNA dose 2 walk-in clinic location as long as their vaccination is due and they have proof of their first dose. This should be at least 28 days after receiving a first dose of AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency has said that based on current evidence, there is no urgent need for booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines to be given to fully vaccinated people in the general population.

Citing a technical report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control, the EMA said that booster doses should be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems.

It has also supported giving booster doses, as a precautionary measure, to older frail people, in particular those living in close settings, such as nursing homes.

It said that given about one in three adults in the EU over 18 is still not currently fully vaccinated, the priority should be to vaccinate all those eligible who have not yet completed their recommended vaccination course.

The EMA said it is currently assessing data on extra doses but that while these assessments are under way, EU member states may consider preparatory plans for administering boosters and additional doses.

It said that advice on how vaccinations should be given remains the prerogative of the national immunisation advisory groups in each member state.

"These bodies are best placed to take into account the local conditions, including the spread of the virus (especially any variants of concern), the availability of vaccines and the capacities of national health systems," it added.

Yesterday, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee advised that a booster mRNA vaccine be offered to immunocompromised people aged 12 years and older.

NIAC is now considering what advice to give on boosters for people over 65 and residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities.

It is also looking at what to advise for those aged 80 years and older and frontline health staff.