The Department of Health has been notified of 1,358 new coronavirus cases.

There are 400 patients in hospital being treated with the virus, an increase of 18 since yesterday.

It is the highest number since 8 March, when there were 418 patients in hospital with the disease.

The number of people being treated for the virus in intensive care is up one to 75. The National Public Health Emergency Team said that the five-day moving average is 1,578.

In Northern Ireland, there were 1,109 new coronavirus infections and five deaths reported today.

Meanwhile, the Health Service Executive is rolling out the administration of third vaccine doses to people who are immunocompromised as well as older people.

According to the latest report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, 373 people aged 15 plus were admitted to ICU with Covid-19 between 1 April and 2 October. Over two thirds (69%) of these were unvaccinated.

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Separately, the Chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said more effort must be made to reach out to pregnant women who are not taking up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccination.

Dr Cliona Murphy, obstetrician at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin, said it was now a weekly event that pregnant women are being admitted to ICU but this is not very well known.

Unvaccinated remain 'very vulnerable' to the virus

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry has said that up to 50,000 adults over the age of 40 have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said: "There still remains 40,000 or 50,000 people out there over the age of 40 who are not vaccinated, and they remain very vulnerable to the virus, a version of which is very transmissible out there.

"That in turn could lead to big pressures on our healthcare system if they all get sick, a sub section of them end up coming in to hospitals, intensive care units."

Dr Henry said that the number of people currently being treated for the virus remains "higher than we would like".

He added: "It's is a concern for us for sure, absolutely, 400 in hospitals today and in our intensive care units - 79.

"These numbers are higher than we would like, there is no doubt about that, but they are much lower than they would have been, if you look at the number of cases we have out in the community and that's because of the vaccination programme."

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Dr Henry said 40% of hospital cases are unvaccinated patients, while 69% of those in ICU are unvaccinated.

He added that the vaccination rate among pregnant women is over 30%, but it needs to be higher, adding that "it is a worry and we would like to see more pregnant women get vaccinated".

When asked if he would like to see healthcare staff prioritised for booster shots, Dr Henry said: "Certainly if the evidence shows that, I would like to see them vaccinated to protect them, patients and our service."

He said that this is "under active consideration" by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.

The rise in the number of Covid patients in hospitals is beginning to cause concern according the Head of the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Limerick, Dr Catherine Motherway.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, she said that in particular, the fact that two-thirds of patients in Intensive Care Units are unvaccinated is concerning.

Dr Motherway said the patients they are now seeing are younger. Roughly half are under the age of 54 and there are people as young as 19 who are very ill in ICU.

"If you remain unvaccinated, you are at risk - particularly with the Delta variant," she said.

"This is preventable, if we continue to do what we've been asked to do which is to be careful in crowds. We've opened up, we're trying to get back to life and to enjoy life as we normally did in the past but we still need to be careful in crowds. Wear a mask. Do the hygiene.

"But if you're not vaccinated, please get vaccinated and if you're one of the groups that need to be boostered, please go and organise that with your general practitioner or your consultant as soon as possible."

The Minister for Health has said that 88% of the population aged 12 years and older is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In a posting on Twitter, Stephen Donnelly said that the High Level Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccination met for the last time today, as the programme is now embedded in the HSE and the Department of Health.

The Minister said that third doses for immunocompromised people are continuing and booster doses for those aged 80+ and in long term care facilities start tomorrow.