Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the Government has taken the best decision for the country by moving to Level 3.
Rising cases are now leading to more people being infected with COVID-19, increased cases in older people, hospitalisations rising, ICU admissions rising and very sadly more deaths occurring.
The total number of cases increased by 6% in the week to 28th September but the number of cases has increased by approximately 50% in the week to 4th October with 3,063 cases notified.
And in Wicklow things have been changing rapidly over the past two weeks.
The latest 14 day rates between September 15th and 28th show in some parts of the county the rate has more than doubled.
While in Bray West the numbers actually dropped slightly from 206.5 cases per 100,000 population to 190.2 there was an increase in Bray East which saw their rate rise from 134.3 to 146.
Elsewhere in the county there was a sharp rise in the Wicklow numbers from just 21.3 to 46.1.
Similarly, Baltinglass has seen a doubling of the incident rate from 22.9 to 57.3 in the space of a fortnight.
There was some good news as the rate in Arklow actually dropped slightly from 22.9 to 19.1 while Greystones remained the same at 68.4.
Minister Donnelly said: ‘When you look at how the incidence rate of confirmed Covid cases in Wicklow has changed so rapidly in the space of just two weeks you get a clear picture of why we had to act.
“We have taken the very significant step of moving to Level 3.
“And while we looked carefully at all the advice and evidence it was the Government’s view that the measures required to move to level 5 have not yet been met.
“We also believe that to move from Level 2 recommendation on a Thursday to a Level 5 recommendation on a Sunday, to warrant that we would need to have seen an absolute turn in terms of the data over those three days.
‘While the situation has deteriorated, it has deteriorated to the point that we’re moving to Level 3.
‘We’ve been provided with advice, we’ve taken that advice and we have made what we believe is the best decision for the country and by extension County Wicklow.”
The Minister continued: “This pandemic isn’t over because we are tired of living with it.
“We must behave and interact as though we ourselves have the virus to protect ourselves and our families, so that Covid-19 does not take root in our communities again.
“Please reduce the number of people you meet to a minimum, keep your distance from others, wash your hands, and wear face coverings.
“We know how to break the chains of transmission of this virus – stay apart and protect each other”.