A GP in Co. Waterford estimates that 1 in 20 people in the seaside town of Tramore are currently infected with Coronavirus.
Dr Austin Byrne has confirmed that 200 cases of the virus were detected among patients in the area since St. Stephen's Day.
He says the spike in cases can be traced backed to several indoor events in the town over Christmas Week.
The news comes as senior government ministers will meet today to consider closing schools until the end of the month.
The cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 will discuss the proposal before a final decision is made tomorrow.
It comes as 6,110 new cases of the virus were confirmed last night - the highest since the pandemic began - with 6 further deaths.
Of those new cases - 361 were recorded in the South East.
There are 106 new infections in Waterford, 84 in Kilkenny, 76 in Wexford, 51 in Carlow and 44 in Tipperary.
The Chief Medical Officer says the country "can't cope" with the current levels of the disease.
Dr Tony Holohan says it's posing a risk to keeping schools open:
"We are concerned about the implications for the ongoing provision of evacuation int this country and you've seen decisions of that kind in other jurisdictions. There are decisions to be taken by government.
"We've made it clear and couldn't have made it clearer over many months that high levels of transmission represent a risk to all activities."