A further 1,205 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed - the highest daily total since the pandemic began.
The total number of cases now stands at 46,429.
Three more deaths have also been reported, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths here to 1,838.
Of the 1,205 new cases, 288 occurred in Dublin, 173 in Cork, 123 in Meath, 97 in Galway and 63 in Cavan.
As of 2pm on Thursday, there were 241 patients in hospital with confirmed COVID-19, 29 of whom were in ICU. There were 24 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.
According to the Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, the number of hospitalisations is "increasing faster than the exponential growth modelling predicted", indicating a "rapidly deteriorating disease trajectory nationally".
"There has been further increases across all key indicators of COVID-19 and the growth rate of the epidemic has accelerated since NPHET last met. Cases notified over the past week have increased by 82% compared with the previous seven days, from 3,514 to 6,382 cases," Dr Holohan explained.
He pointed out that the 14-day incidence in people over the age of 65 has increased from 92.9 per 100,000 population on October 7 to 125 per 100,000 population on October 14.
According to the deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, there is now "a deteriorating epidemiological landscape across the EU".
"Many EU countries are experiencing increasing hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths related to COVID-19.
"Our priorities remain focused on protecting the medically and socially vulnerable, protecting childcare and education settings, and preventing unnecessary disruption to non-COVID health and social care services," Dr Glynn said.
Meanwhile, according to Prof Philip Nolan, chair of NPHET's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, the reproduction number of the virus appears to have increased and is now at 1.4 nationally.
"Modelling shows that if current trends continue, by October 31, the number of cases notified daily would be in the range of 1,800 - 2,500 cases with over 400 people in hospital," he noted.
The HSE's chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry, added that the challenge now is "much greater" than earlier in the year, as the aim is to suppress COVID-19 while maintaining non-COVID health services as well.
"The higher the community transmission, the more difficult it is to protect medically vulnerably people in all heathcare settings. We appeal to everyone to play their part in protecting patients, healthcare workers and frontline services," he said.
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