There have been four additional deaths related to COVID-19 and 744 new confirmed cases in Ireland.
There is now a total of 86,129 confirmed cases and 2,204 deaths relating to the virus here.
Of the cases notified today:
- 388 are men / 354 are women
- 64% are under 45 years of age
- The median age is 34 years old
Some 246 cases are in Dublin, 131 in Cork, 51 in Limerick, 40 in Wexford and 33 in Donegal.
The remaining 243 cases are spread across 19 other counties.
As of 8.00am today, 324 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised - of which 26 are in ICU.
There have been 50 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, said: "We have seen a significant increase in the number of hospitalisations in the last two weeks from less than 190 to 324 today.
"This indicates a deteriorating disease trajectory nationally and is a significant reminder of the severity of this disease."
"There have been further increases across key indicators of COVID-19 right across the country and the growth rate of the epidemic has accelerated in recent days."
He added: "Due to the lower volume of tests being carried out over Christmas Day and yesterday, we believe there are higher levels of disease circulating in the community than today's reported case numbers reflect.
"We expect, therefore, to see a large increase in cases reported over the coming days."
"If we do not act now to stop the spread of COVID-19, we will not be able to protect those in our society that are most at risk of serious illness or death."
He urged people to "stay home, do not visit friends or family unless you are providing essential care and do not have visitors to your home."