The number of Covid-19 cases to be reported today is expected to again exceed 3,000.
Much of the latest increase is being put down to the volume of people who came forward for testing at the end of last week and over the Halloween weekend, rather than a backlog.
The Department of Health was yesterday notified of 3,726 new cases of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer has said the flood wall of vaccine protection is holding tight, despite the surge in Covid-19 cases.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Colm Henry said that infection rates have risen from the mid 400s per 100,000 to 677 per 100,000.
However, he said that hospital and ICU figures have stabilised somewhat, saying the “harm they [the cases] are converting to is much lower than in was in January”.
As of 8am, there were 460 people in hospital with Covid-19, down 33 from the same time yesterday.
Dr Henry said that daily cases of Covid-19 have surged to over 3,000 in recent days, but that the harm and illness caused by infection is less as a result of vaccines.
He said that vaccines alone will not prevent transmission of the virus and he appealed to the unvaccinated to get the jab or to take up any outstanding boosters.
Dr Henry also urged everyone to continue to wear masks in indoors settings and avoid crowds.
“Just because social restrictions have eased and there is greater mixing in the community, doesn’t mean we all have to do it,” he said.
Latest coronavirus newsIs NPHET going to recommend new restrictions?
Dr Colm Henry urges the unvaccinated to get vaccinated | Read more: https://t.co/r8obbAzh0q pic.twitter.com/5atXJp6iRs
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) November 3, 2021
He added that modelling continues to show that transmission of Covid-19 in school settings is low, saying that 70,000 extra tests were carried out on children in September and just 1.7% of the tests were positive.
Dr Henry explained that it is more likely that children are acquiring Covid-19 at home, since the general population is beginning to mix more.
He added that the cancellations of elective activity is happening in some hospitals where there are high levels of occupancy and congestion.
Dr Colm Henry was on Morning Ireland to give an update on the strain on the healthcare system due to Covid-19, in particular ICU beds and the cancellation of procedures | Read more: https://t.co/tnH3Xa2nbO pic.twitter.com/DtZwV5rEWm
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) November 3, 2021
Cases of influenza and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) have emerged to add to the pressure on the health service.
One in three beds in ICU are currently occupied by people with Covid-19 and the remainder by people with serious illness or trauma.
Meanwhile, Minister of State Niall Collins had defended the proposal from the Minister for Health to extendemergency legislation providing for face masks, Covid-19 passes, enforcement powers and fixed penalty notices.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, he said the Government has to act to protect human life and public health and makes decisions based on the advice and in consultation with NPHET.
Minister Collins said that the hope is that this would be the final extension of the powers, but legislation would be required to extend them beyond February.
Separately, Nursing Homes Ireland CEO Tadhg Daly said he was pleasantly surprised to hear Minister Donnelly say on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night that serial testing in nursing homes is to resume.
Mr Daly said there are currently 62 outbreaks in nursing homes, but there were five or less cases in 83% of recent outbreaks, which shows that the infection control measures are working while the booster shot is giving residents extra protection.
He also said a small number of staff have been redeployed or have left because they do not want to be vaccinated, and said he believes the issue of mandatory vaccination for healthcare staff should remain on the agenda.