A further 576 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed this evening as the HSE’s chief executive revealed they are planning to use antigen testing to deal with outbreaks of the virus.
Paul Reid also said they are considering using the tests for close contacts.
As of 8am today, there are 58 coronavirus patients in hospital, an increase of 6 on yesterday's figure.
There are 16 patients being treated for the virus in ICU's across the country, unchanged from yesterday's figure.
Speaking on RTÉ's, Mr Reid said the health service is "extremely busy"
“None of us want to go back to the dark days of January where we had over 2,000 people being treated with Covid in hospital and 212 people in ICU’s.”
Nphet’s pessimistic modelling presents “huge issues” for the health service in terms of hospitalisations, but Mr Reid said the public should take “great assurance” from the vaccination program, with 56% of the population now fully vaccinated.
For those aged 60 and 70 waiting on their second AstraZeneca jab, they can expect to be fully vaccinated by the end of next week and early into the following week at the latest, he added.
Those aged 30 to 35 can expect to be vaccinated in July, while those aged 25 to 29 can expect to be vaccinated in early August.
Mr Reid also said the HSE would welcome a "planned and pragmatic approach" to easing restrictions.
"I've always been very clear, long time restrictions, lockdowns of the community, of enterprise and business, is not good for the health service either."
"On the extreme end of it, what's happening in the UK, we would have huge concerns," he said.