Ireland has recorded the first “glimmer of hope” in the Covid-19 case numbers, the chief medical officer has said.
One in every 76 people have had the virus over the last fortnight.
The situation in hospitals continues to worsen day on day, Dr Tony Holohan said.
He added: “While we are seeing the first glimmer of hope in respect of our daily case figures and positivity rates, the situation in hospitals and ICUs around the country continues to worsen day on day.
That means we are unfortunately set for a period of time where the situation in our hospitals gets worse before it gets betterDr Tony Holohan
“We know that hospitalisations occur some weeks after a confirmed case is notified, and mortality after that again.
“That means we are unfortunately set for a period of time where the situation in our hospitals gets worse before it gets better.”
Eight more people have died with Covid-19 in Ireland.
Another 4,929 cases were confirmed, the National Public Health Emergency Team said.
A total of 146 people are in intensive care in hospital.
Professor Philip Nolan is modelling the progress of the disease for the State.
He said the figures were “unprecedented” but it looked like they were beginning to turn a corner and the positivity rate of tests had fallen in recent days.
He added: “We are beginning to see early signs of improvement in the situation but that improvement is from such a high level of disease that our health services remain very much under strain and under threat and will be so for a number of weeks.”
He said the situation was stabilising and case numbers would begin to decline.