A TOTAL of 33 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Limerick overnight, figures out this teatime reveal.
Statistics presented by the Department of Health also show that the incidence rate of the condition across the city and county has also risen for the third day in a row.
The rate was 130.8 per 100,000 people yesterday, and it's now gone up to 132.9. The national average stands at 100.8.
Over the last fortnight, Limerick has seen 259 new cases.
All this comes as Taoiseach Micheál Martin says he's likely to follow advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) to impose restrictions this side of the New Year.
Nationally, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been notified of six additional deaths related to Covid-19. It means that in total, since the onset of the pandemic in March ,there has been a total of 2,149 fatalities from the condition in this country.
There has been a huge rise of 582 new confirmed cases across the State. It means there has been some 78,254 cases of coronavirus in Ireland.
Of today's new cases, 310 are men and 265 are women
Some 60% of these people are under 45 years of age, with the average age 38.
The majority of new cases - 193 - are located in Dublin, followed by 59 in Wexford, 47 in Louth, 42 in Meath, and 34 in Cork.
The remaining 207 cases are spread over all other counties in the Republic, including 33 each in Limerick and Kerry, plus under five each in Tipperary and Clare.
As of 2pm today, almost 200 people were in hospital with Covid-19, of which 34 are in intensive care. There have been 13 additional hospitalisations across the last 24 hours.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: "Over the past week, we have expressed significant concern that the level of infection was deteriorating day on day. The data today adds further evidence that the situation is getting worse more rapidly than we expected. The country simply cannot cope with this level of infection as we head into Christmas week. With vaccines offering hope in the coming months for our most vulnerable groups, we want to keep them alive and well so that they can receive it."
"Each one of us must do all we can to protect public health - cut your contacts, see only those you need to see. Choose to socialise safely, outdoors if possible. If you see a crowd, avoid it. By choosing to act safely right now, together we can limit the impact this disease will have in the weeks and months to come - and in doing so, we can protect the vulnerable and prevent unnecessary deaths," he concluded.