The prospect of tighter Covid-19 restrictions looms following a worrying daily toll in new Covid-19 cases - the biggest surge since May.
he National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will today review yesterday's spike of 217 newly diagnosed people with the virus. The meeting of experts will judge if extra measures need to be stepped up at a local or national level to keep the spread of the virus under control.
The number of new infections follows the lifting of restrictions in Kildare and confirmation that local lockdowns have worked.
Of the new infections, 103 were in Dublin - one of the worst-hit counties - but this is being seen in the light of the capital's higher population density.
There were 25 new cases in Kildare, 17 in Limerick, 17 in Tipperary, seven in Waterford, seven in Wicklow, six in Clare, five in Louth and the remaining 30 are located in Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kilkenny, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Westmeath and Wexford. There were no new deaths reported.
Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: "While the number of cases is the highest daily reported figure since May, the five-day moving average remains relatively stable at 115 cases per day. This is still a substantial number of cases.
"I urge everyone to double down on their efforts now - wash hands regularly, physically distance from others, wear face coverings where appropriate, avoid crowded areas, know the symptoms, isolate and contact your GP if you have any concerns."
More than half of the cases reported are linked to outbreaks or close contacts of a confirmed case, which means they can be tracked back to a source, which helps public health doctors in their bid to control the spread.
However, 19 of the new cases are due to community transmission - which means the source could not be found, making it more difficult to manage the spread.
Seven in 10 of the new cases are in people under the age of 45.
The nearest number of cases at this level occurred in mid-August, when 200 newly diagnosed infections were reported.
Professor Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, a member of Nphet and leader of a team tracking the virus, indicated the restrictions on get-togethers will continue for some months.
It means the guideline to confine groups to six people indoors and 15 outdoors will continue.
This will have an impact on hotel functions as well as private households.
Meanwhile, BreastCheck, the national screening programme to detect breast cancer, may not return until October. The screening programme has been paused since March 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The HSE said the pause was put in place to protect patients and staff by complying with social distancing guidelines.
In addition, the HSE temporarily redeployed staff and resources to the response to the Covid-19 crisis.
"However, clinical staff have continued to work within the programme," the HSE said.
"BreastCheck has continued to support the symptomatic breast services in its host hospitals, providing care, diagnostics, treatment and surgery for patients who have been referred to the symptomatic service."
It is projected that BreastCheck will resume in September or October of this year.
"Invitations will be first issued to those who were due screening during the paused period, beginning with those who have been waiting the longest.
"Invitations for routine screening will be issued subsequently, on a phased basis," said the HSE.
"Due to Covid-19 restrictions, services will not be operating at full capacity. The resumption of screening services will be based on the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic."
As screening restarts, the HSE "will ensure all parts of the system have sufficient capacity to process the volume of tests".
"We are taking safety measures to protect both patients and staff, such as social distancing measures and face coverings," it said.
"This will mean that appointments will take longer and it may also take longer to get an appointment. We will continue to follow public health guidelines. The health and safety of our patients and staff is our priority."
BowelScreen restarted issuing invites for screening to eligible people on a phased basis on August 4 last.
"Completed kits are being processed and reported by our laboratory. All endoscopy units are scheduling BowelScreen colonoscopies."
Separately, a British Medical Journal study today says that pregnant women seen in hospitals with Covid-19 are less likely to show symptoms and seem to be at increased risk of needing admission to an intensive care unit than non-pregnant women of similar age.
They are also more likely to experience pre-term birth and their newborns are more likely to be admitted to a neo-natal unit.