LIMERICK has recorded a new daily high of 209 confirmed Covid-19 cases, figures out this teatime have revealed.
It means there has now been 1,159 confirmed cases of the disease across the city and the county in the last fortnight. This new daily high comes just two days after the previous record was set, with 203 new daily cases announced on New Year's Eve.
The figures come after Prof Philip Nolan, the chair of Nphet's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group saying earlier today that some of the backlog of confirmed cases of the flu-like condition will be announced this evening.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan says the incidence of coronavirus is "as high, if not higher" than at the start of the pandemic back in March.
Limerick's 14-day incidence rate has also soared, from 506.4 yesterday, to 594.7 per 100,000 people this Saturday evening.
It's way above the national average of 381.6.
Nationally, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has reported the sad news of four additional deaths related to Covid-19. It brings to 2,252 people dead from the disease since the start of the pandemic last March.
Additionally, there are now 3,394 new cases of Covid-19 nationally. It means the number of people who have had the condition now stands at 96,926.
Of today's new cases, 1,619 are men, with 1,766 women.
Some 65% are people under the age of 45, with the average age being 35 years.
The majority of cases - 389 - have been reported in Cork. Unlike most days, Dublin has the second highest number this Saturday, with 355 in the capital, followed by 355 in Dublin, 339 in Donegal, 258 in Louth and 233 in Mayo.
The remaining 1,820 cases are spread across every other county in the Republic, including the 209 in Limerick, plus 98 in Kerry, 65 in Clare and 59 in Tipperary.
As of 2pm today, some 607 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 56 are in intensive care. There has been 71 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Dr Holohan said: "The incidence of Covid-19 is as high, if not higher now than it was in March. Every individual needs to act as if they are infectious. Hospitalisations are rising to levels close to what we saw in the springtime. Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care."
"It is really important that vulnerable and older people do not leave their homes unless absolutely essential. This includes asking neighbours or family to carry out errands such as grocery shopping, limiting all contacts to only those people you live with or have to visit for essential care reasons," he added.
"We need to rediscover the spirit of solidarity and community we saw in March and April so that we can all do our part in protecting older and vulnerable people. People particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 include older persons and people with pre-existing medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer."