THE NUMBER of patients with Covid-19 currently in Irish hospitals has hit a seven-month high.
Figures released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show that 400 people are hospitalised with the virus at the moment, the first time that figure has been reached since March 8.
75 of those patients are in intensive care, the highest figure recorded since March 25.
Nearly half of all hospitalised Covid-19 patients in Ireland admitted in the last few weeks have been unvaccinated, and nearly 70% of ICU patients are also unvaccinated, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The rising figures are "absolutely a concern" to the HSE, chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry has said.
"These numbers are higher than we would like, there’s no doubt about that, but they’re much lower than they would be, when you look at the number of daily cases, if it wasn’t for our vaccination programme," Dr Henry told RTÉ News.
"That link between cases and harm is severely weakened but not completely broken.
"40% of those hospitalised are now unvaccinated and of those coming into ICUs severely ill with Covid-19, 69% are unvaccinated."
It's thought that around 50,000 people over the age of 40 still aren't fully vaccinated across the country.
Dr Henry warned that if a significant amount of this group catches the virus, it could be extreme pressure on Ireland's health service, particularly with winter fast approaching.
“We are seeing particular pressure on ICUs. We have precious little beds in the ICU system – albeit expanded during Covid – but any additional surge would see great strain put on our system," Dr Henry added.