IRELAND'S Chief Medical Officer has said a spike in Covid-19 hospital admissions over the last 24 hours is a 'significant concern'.
Dr Tony Holohan urged anyone not vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, following 2,125 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19.
He added that the increase in cases had pushed levels up to where they were in February.
'Pressure on frontline services'
The latest figures show there are 259 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 54 are in intensive care.
"The number of newly confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospital in the last 24 hours has reached a level not seen since mid-February," said Dr Holohan.
"This upward trend in serious infection is of significant concern, increasing the pressure on frontline healthcare services and non-Covid care.
"The Covid-19 vaccination programme is vital to our collective effort to minimise the transmission of this virus in families, in workplaces and communities.
As of midnight, Friday 20th August, we are reporting 2,125* confirmed cases of #COVID19.
As of 8am today, 259 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 54 are in ICU.
*Daily case numbers may change due to future data validation
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) August 21, 2021
"I would urge those who are unvaccinated to come forward for vaccination as soon as possible and to take all recommended doses to limit your risk of severe infection.
"It is critical for everyone to stay safe by following the public health advice as part of their daily routine.
"To protect yourself, consider each activity for its level of risk to your health, regularly wash hands, wear a mask when appropriate and look out for each other by keeping a two-metre distance, avoid crowds, manage your social contacts and choose outdoors where possible for meeting others."
Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has reported four Covid-19 related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 2,287.
There were also an additional 1,612 positive cases, with 388 patients in hospital, of which 47 are in ICU.
NI #COVID19 data has been updated:
📊 1,612 positive cases and sadly, four deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours.
💉2,401,296 vaccines administered in total.
The Covid 19 Dashboard will be updated on Monday 23 August. pic.twitter.com/sIcY2OCB0c
— Department of Health (@healthdpt) August 21, 2021
On Friday, Northern Ireland recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in a single day since the pandemic began
The Department of Health reported 2,397 cases and nine deaths in the previous 24 hours.
It is urging those eligible to get their first vaccine this weekend if they have not already done so as part of the Big Jab Weekend.
There are seven centres across Northern Ireland open for mass vaccinations during Saturday and Sunday.