Health officials in Ireland have confirmed 1,361 new cases of Covid-19 this evening.
In total, 160 people are receiving treatment for coronavirus in hospital with 26 patients in intensive care.
This is an increase on yesterday's hospitalisation figures when 152 patients with the virus were receiving hospital care but ICU figures remain the same. 1,408 cases were confirmed yesterday.
Coronavirus data is subject to future validation and the number of infections reported county by county is not available as a result of the HSE cyberattack.
Data for Covid-related deaths is also not available as a result of the cyberattack.
In total, 298,048 cases of the virus have been reported since the pandemic began.
The latest case data comes as the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 increased by 60% week on week.
But there is “great grounds for optimism”, the chief executive of the HSE has said.
There are currently 160 Covid patients in hospital, 26 of whom are in ICU.
Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Paul Reid said approximately 70% of those patients were admitted to hospital as a result of the virus.
A smaller number contracted Covid in hospital, and another smaller number of patients who attended for something else and were asymptomatic for the virus but tested positive, he said.
“While the figures aren’t alarming in themselves, they are cause for continued concern for us. As they continue to rise at a time when we have significant pressure and stress on our hospitals,” he said.
Mr Reid said non-Covid-related hospital attendances are also “up significantly”.
“There are a number of factors driving this. Firstly, there is significant reporting of delayed presentations - people who didn’t present themselves during covid, and a significant proportion of those are from older people who, in most cases, need high acute care,” he added.
However, Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer of the HSE, said the number of cases is beginning to “plateau”, though he said it was too early to tell if this was a permanent trend.
There continues to be “very strong demand” for testing activity, though Niamh O’Beirne, the national testing and tracing lead, said it is beginning to steady with a decline of about 3%.
Around 15,000 tests are being carried out each day between Monday and Friday.
People aged between 15-24 make up the highest referral volumes, with a 14% positivity rate.
The average positivity rate now stands at 11.7%, with some sites having a positivity rate of up to 21%.
Meanwhile, the vaccination programme continues to roll out at pace, with 71% of the adult population being fully vaccinated, while 86% being partially vaccinated.
Mr Reid said: “The vaccination programme in Ireland is having massive benefits, beyond our expectations. We are setting a high bar for many other countries in terms of our uptake. We are on the final furlong in the race to get the adult population vaccination."
The HSE is currently working on plans for the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds, following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).
Damien McCallion, HSE national director for the vaccination programme, said his team are currently working on an information campaign for parents, and hopes the vaccination of this age group will begin “over the next couple of weeks”.
“We are primarily going to use vaccination centres, but we are also going to work with pharmacies and GPs for a couple of reasons,” he said.
“One is geography and two is there may be some young children who do not find the vaccination centre appropriate, people perhaps with a disability or autism or so on, we want to make sure there are alternatives there for people.”