The Deputy CMO has urged the public to "keep our guard up" to slow the spread of the highly transmissible B117 or 'UK' Covid-19 variant here.
Dr Ronan Glynn said the UK variant, estimated to be 40-80% more transmissible than the 'wild type' or original strain, was now the dominant one in Ireland.
He was speaking as 25 further deaths and 566 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland this evening.
The total number of Covid-19-related deaths seen in Ireland to date now stands at 4,357, while the total number of cases confirmed here stands at 221,189.
The Deputy CMO said that, despite the presence of B117 here, key disease indicators were "continuing on a positive trajectory."
However, he noted that community outbreaks linked to extended families, workplaces and funerals were still happening.
Dr Glynn said the country's "willingness to stick with the public health advice in our daily routine" had led to the progress now being seen.
"Together, through staying at home as much as possible, social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings, we can continue to drive down the spread of Covid-19.”
Of the new deaths reported by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) this evening, five occurred in March, 13 occurred in February and six others took place in January or earlier.
One other death is currently under investigation.
- 280 are men;
- 284 are women;
- 68% are under 45 years of age;
- The median age is 34 years old;
- 233 are located in Dublin;
- 37 are in Kildare;
- 30 are in Meath; 25 are in Donegal;
- 24 are in Westmeath;
- and the remaining 217 cases are spread across all other counties.
Nineteen new cases were reported in Cork
The 14-day incidence rate of the virus is now 199.4 per 100,000 population. The seven-day incidence rate is 91.2.
The five-day rolling average is 594
As of 8am today, 489 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 114 were in intensive care.
29 additional hospitalisations have been recorded in the past 24 hours.
The HPSC has said that data validation has resulted in the denotification of one previously confirmed death. The figure of 4,357 total deaths above reflects this.
Validation of data at the HPSC has also resulted in the denotification of seven previously confirmed cases.
The figure of 221,189 confirmed cases reflects these denotifcations.
With 81,843 doses administered over the last week, the HSE has missed its initial target of administering 100,000 vaccine doses over the last seven days.
The HSE attributed this shortfall to deliveries of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine being deferred.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the vaccine shortfall would be made up over the coming days.
“The key is the ongoing issue of supply from AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna," he said.
As of February 28, 439,782 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered in Ireland.
297,899 people have received their first dose, and 141,883 people have received their second dose and are fully vaccinated.