More than 40,000 people are waiting for a coronavirus test.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) says it is beginning to work through the backlog when 50 test centres across the country open in the next couple of days.
The figure was revealed at a COVID-19 briefing on Sunday.
At the same briefing, the HSE said it plans to spend almost €240m on personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
The executive usually spends €15m a year on the clothing, but has upped its efforts following the outbreak of COVID-19.
That will include 11 million masks, one million face shields, one million goggles, and about 400,000 gowns and suits.
An order is also to be placed in the coming weeks to the sum of €175m.
Some 147 healthcare workers have so far tested positive for the coronavirus.
The CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid, said they are placing more orders.
"Some particular areas - some particular hospitals, some particular community settings - may be running tighter than others.
"So we have been looking at some redistribution already.
"We have been securing in the past numbers of weeks very significant orders."