The HSE has said up to 200 households in Galway city are included in an outbreak of Covid-19, with cases mainly linked to young adults.
Galway city has experienced a significant outbreak among young adults from 18-24 years giving rise to 427 cases by the end of last Sunday.
This followed a surge in the number of students at NUI Galway and GMIT testing positive for the virus last month.
The "significant outbreak" among young adults and third-level students is currently ongoing and said to have evolved over the last three weeks.
The HSE West's Director of Public Health, Dr Breda Smyth, has called house parties the “perfect breeding ground” for the virus and urge students to avoid inter-household mixing.
In a statement, Dr Smyth said: “Currently with the predominant BII7 variant, transmissibility has increased by 70%. In addition, attack rates in household contacts have increased from a rate of approximately 20% with the original variant, to almost 33% which is thought to be attributable to the B117 variant.”
Earlier today the HSE published data that showed the number of patients hospitalised with Covid was less than 500 for the first time this year.
As of 8am this morning, 497 people are receiving treatment for Covid-19 in Irish hospitals, the first time this has dropped below 500 since New Year's Eve.