THE HEAD of the HSE has called for an immediate reduction in risk activities to halt the 'prolific' spread of Covid-19.
Paul Reid issued the warning as today's figures showed there were 4,642 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the State.
The figure marks a fall from Friday's 5,483 new recorded cases, which Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan described as "one of our highest ever daily figures of confirmed cases of Covid-19".
However there are currently 556 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 107 are in ICU, up from 549 and 96 respectively on Friday.
Addressing the latest figures, Reid posted on Twitter: "The virus is now prolific in most communities and nobody wants to be the next hospitalised case.
"An immediate reduction by all of us of risk activities is needed to turn this around."
A letter on Thursday from the National Public Health Emergency Team to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly highlighted such higher risk activities.
These included multi-household indoor activities such as attendance at bars, restaurants, nightclubs, the cinema, multi-household home visits, participating in indoor contact sports and car sharing with people from other households.
CMO Dr Holohan urged similar caution to Mr Reid, saying people should reduce their 'discretionary contacts' over the next few weeks by halving the number of times they socialise.
"We have very high levels of transmission of Covid-19, one of the highest levels we've had over the entire course of the pandemic right at the moment," said Dr Holohan.
"What we call the force of infection — which really is the chance of you, if you're out and about, bumping into this virus — is really very, very high."
He said the number of cases had almost doubled over the past three weeks, attributing this to levels of socialising returning to near pre-pandemic levels.
"The important message for you now is, if you're yet to be vaccinated, come forward and get vaccinated," he added.
"If you're due a booster, come forward and get your booster.
"If you're experiencing symptoms, you must stay at home and get a PCR test."
He also urged people to continue to undertake preventative measures such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing to break chains of transmission.