There are 409 people are in hospital with Covid-19 today, the highest number since May.
It is 49 more than yesterday after 36 patients were admitted in the space of 24 hours.
The peak during the second wave, October 27, was 354. Nphet says hospitalisations are increasing 'earlier and faster' in the third wave.
May 15 was the last time the number of hospitalisations topped 400 when there were 419 patients in hospital.
Infectious disease expert Professor Sam McConkey stated: “People only really go to hopsital now if they’re quite sick, especially over Christmas."
Prof McConkey said that the people in hospital “truly are unwell enough" to be there.
He added that there is a lot that can be done to help people in hospital if they are sick enough to be there.
Last night, Nphet warned that hospitalisations in the third wave of the virus have now exceeded those in the second wave.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “We are reporting that we have now exceeded the cumulative number of people hospitalised in this third wave than in the second. Hospitalisations have increased sharply in the last two days. This is a concerning trend which reflects the sharp increase incidence we saw in the last 10 days.
“We are also seeing a steep rise in the positivity rates in community testing with a seven day average of over 9.2% up from 5.2% on 18 December.
"This indicates that the virus is increasing its foothold out in our communities. This is just one more reason why we are strongly advising everyone to stay safely at home to avoid transmitting or catching this virus, as it continues to circulate widely.
“Please come forward for testing if you feel unwell. Know the symptoms of Covid-19, and do not delay in phoning your GP for advice.
"Self-isolate in your room if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath or change in sense of taste/smell. If you are a household contact of a confirmed case, restrict your movements until your household member receives a negative test result.
“In addition to staying at home except for essential reasons, these important individual actions will help to stop the exponential spread of Covid-19 in our communities and in turn protect the most vulnerable, our healthcare system and those who work on the frontlines”.
Earlier today, the Covid lead for the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) called on the public to limit their contacts in the coming days.
Dr Nuala O’Connor said it was people’s behaviour that was going to have a significant impact on the third wave of the virus and how long it lasts.
Dr O’Connor said she was expecting a big rise in the number of Covid cases in the coming days as GPs had noticed a 65% increase in referrals for Covid tests in the past week.