The Department of Health has been notified of an additional 9,006 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

There are 521 patients in hospital with Covid-19, an increase of 60 on the previous day.

There are 92 people in ICU with Covid-19, which is up from 91 yesterday.

The Chief Executive of the Health Service Executive has said there is "no doubt now" that Covid-19 is "absolutely running rife in our communities".

Paul Reid said there is an "unparalleled level of testing volumes coming forward", and the HSE is seeing a positivity rate of up to 50% in the community.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said: "If you think that you have Covid, it's most likely that you have it."

Mr Reid said 250,000 PCR tests were carried out over the past week, with most people getting a same day or next day test.

However, he acknowledged that there are some delays and he urged the public to "stick with us" as the HSE works to address this.

Testing capacity is being increased, he added.

Mr Reid said the HSE is gaining experience from the spread of the virus in other countries, such as the UK, Netherlands, Denmark and Canada, who are "probably further ahead in the curve than ourselves".

He said Ireland is still at the early stage of a "rising curve" and what had been expected to happen is now happening.

"It would seem that there's a peak at some stage," he said. "We certainly aren't at that by any stretch just yet."

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Mr Reid repeated calls for those who are unvaccinated to come forward for a jab, adding that hospital consultants have reported higher levels of sickness from those who are not vaccinated.

He said Ireland has now reached an important milestone, with over two-million boosters, or third doses for the immunocompromised, administered.

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Professor of Experimental Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, Kingston Mills, said there are "a lot more people out there that are potentially infected that we don't know about".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Katie Hannon, Prof Mills said the system is "creaking at the edges" because of the number of people trying to get tests.

When asked if the case numbers have peaked yet, Professor Mills said: "No definitely not."

He said it will be similar to last January in terms of case numbers, but added that it will be a different scenario because they now have vaccines.

The HSE said yesterday that almost one in two people in the community are now testing positive for Covid-19, and the current demand for testing is unprecedented.

It warned that this may lead to longer waiting times for PCR tests, and that those who have symptoms or a positive antigen result should restrict their movements.

Meanwhile, Dr Denis McAuley, Chairperson of the Irish Medical Organisation's GP Committee, said PCR tests are less critical than self-isolating and limiting social activities.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Dr McCauley described the virus as being "rampant", but with positive tests rather than people getting very sick.

He said having symptoms or being a close contact of someone with the virus, or a positive antigen test, is the starting point for people to self-isolate; he said a positive PCR test is not the "starting line".

Dr McAuley said there will be an increase in PCR testing but that it will become less important because of the high positivity rate in the community.

"I would hate testing to become the critical issue" he said, adding that it was important for people to limit their socialisation and to self-isolate if they have symptoms.

He said changes to the current rules about the length of time people have to self-isolate will have to be considered, and that there might have to be special derogations for essential workers who are deemed close contacts.