A survey of GPs shows that the majority of patients who had contacted them with COVID-like symptoms in the past week had not been self-isolating.
That is according to the Department of Health who confirmed 38 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday evening, bringing the total number to 26,065.
Of those latest cases, 82% have been contracted by people under the age of 45, with the median age being 30.
Cork GP Dr.Doireann O'Leary says there is a worrying rise in the number of people not taking their symptoms seriously.
She said: "If I'm speaking to a patient on a telephone consultation and they're describing their symptoms to me, if I say to a patient they need a Covid test, most people are surprised by it.
"They are saying, 'I probably just have hayfever or just a typical common cold'.
Dr O'Leary said she didn't think people were being deliberately careless of reckless but that there is "a real sense among people that this virus isn't something that's going to affect them or their lives".
She added: "It has been challenging to really get the public to take on board that this could happen to them."
She said this had been "eye-opening" given that people are aware of the prevalence of coronavirus in Ireland.
Dr O'Leary said the winter flu season will be very busy with the common cold, influenza and COVID-19.