The Department of Health has been notified of 3,726 new cases of Covid-19, which is the highest number reported since mid-January of this year.

The number of people with the virus in hospital is 493, a drop of 22 from yesterday.

Of those, 90 are in ICU, which is down one from yesterday.

It is unclear whether today's case number includes a backlog of some reported cases. The increase is not unexpected and had been predicted by public health experts.

In a statement, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said Covid-19 is circulating widely in the community, but they have the tools to limit its spread.

"We know that vaccination is very successful at preventing severe illness and hospitalisation and I urge anyone who still needs to get their Covid vaccine to do so.

"We also know that, even when vaccinated, we still need to practice basic public health interventions - washing our hands, opening windows, wearing masks and most importantly, staying home when we have symptoms.

"These simple measures are very successful at breaking the chains of transmission of this disease.

"As we practice all elements of the public health advice, we keep ourselves, and our communities safe."

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In the Dáil earlier today, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly described the situation as serious and said hospitals were becoming "fuller".

The minister said that "we have to be concerned that things will deteriorate further" as he proposed extending emergency legislation providing for face masks, Covid-19 passes, enforcement powers and fixed penalty notices.

The laws were due to expire on 9 November, but Mr Donnelly proposed extending them for another three months until 9 February, and he urged TDs to back the motion.

The Dáil will vote on this tomorrow night.

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Mr Donnelly had accused colleagues of acting recklessly in voicing their opposition to extending the emergency powers.

Several TDs, including Michael Healy-Rae, objected to this and said the minister's charge was "undemocratic".

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson David Cullinane said he opposed the extensions because circumstances had changed since the legislation was first introduced.

He said he was opposed in principle to extending emergency powers nearly two years into the pandemic.

The Waterford TD said they were rightly seen as draconian and the time had come for them to be no longer necessary.

Earlier, the Taoiseach said there were no guarantees that Covid-19 restrictions would not be re-introduced, with modelling from the National Public Health Emergency Team suggesting the current rise in cases will peak at the end of this month.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Micheál Martin said that the rise in cases at the moment was "very concerning".

Mr Martin said the use of antigen testing is increasing and if people "collectively remain cautious we can avoid the need to have a backward return to restrictions".

The Health Service Executive said it had issued 6,976 antigen test kits by post to people who are close contacts of a confirmed case.

The kits are for people who are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms.

Mr Martin also said he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, who told him that Israel's booster campaign had been "very successful and impactful" on the latest wave of the virus there.

Mr Martin said that "no one can guarantee anything", but the vaccines work and Ireland was in a different position to last year.

Additional reporting Mícheál Lehane, Fergal Bowers