Elective surgeries may have to be cancelled if the number of people in ICU continues to rise.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the Government doesn't have a red line of hospitalisations that will lead to increased Covid restrictions.
The number of people in hospital and ICU with Covid has been increasing and as of this morning 99 people were in ICU care with the disease.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said on the current trajectory that could increase to 150 or 200 people - not far off the January peak at the higher end of that modeling.
Stephen Donnelly says the Government doesn't have a 'red line' number at which restrictions would have to be reintroduced
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) October 28, 2021
He says that will have obvious impacts on the health system:
"You have to cancel a lot of elective, planned surgeries and operations. So there's a lot of people waiting for procedures who are waiting for procedures who need those beds, or need those beds to be there."
But head of the HSE Paul Reid says the vaccines have made a difference when it comes to hospital care.
His aim is to keep services going:
"What we are aiming to do as we face into this winter is to...continue to treat non-urgent care. And to deal with some of the non-Covid issues."
People who're close contacts of a Covid-19 case will be sent rapid antigen tests from today.
Contact tracers will arrange for a box of five to be delivered through the regular post to those who're vaccinated and don't have symptoms.
Recipients will be asked to take three tests - the first upon receiving the test kit, the second two days later and the third two days after that.
Anyone who tests positive will be required to self-isolate and book a PCR test.