The HSE's Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said the potential for an "apartheid society" can be avoided if people re-double their efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
A recent increase in cases has seen 231 confirmed yesterday - the highest daily number in four months.
There has also been a steady rise in hospital admissions, 46 people are being treated in hospitals today - six in ICU.
Dr Colm Henry said it is important people act now to avoid further restrictions "so we can protect older people, and not create some sort of apartheid society when there is one set of rules for older people and another set of rules for younger people".
Dr Henry also said it is important that Ireland works together to live with the virus to return to some ordinary life and keep schools open.
"We need to redouble our efforts, a common sense of purpose, we're not just trying to avoid Bergamo, we're trying to open society up again, we're trying to live with Covid but in a different way than we have before," Dr Henry said.
Dr Henry's comments come as 138 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland today however there were no new deaths.
The number of new cases in Dublin dropped to 68 from a high of 133 cases yesterday.
There are 13 cases in Limerick, 9 in Galway, 9 in Kildare, and 5 each in Cork, Wexford, and in Wicklow.
The remaining 24 cases are in 14 other counties and 67% of today's cases are under the age of 45.
The increasing case numbers mean Ireland must avoid an "overwhelmed" hospital system this winter according to Dr Henry.
"We cannot face an overwhelmed hospital system and we cannot face levels of congestion in our emergency departments like we saw in previous years.
"For this reason, we're focusing on avoiding people getting to hospital. Our Winter Plan, which is being finalised at the moment, is looking at the development of community assessment hubs being refashioned to look at people with respiratory disease presenting in the community.
"We're also looking to add to our hospital capacity with the addition of 400 acute beds this year," said Dr Henry.