There has been a 72% increase in a week in those in critical care in hospitals in Wales, according to the Heath Minister.
Vaughan Gething said the latest figures from NHS Wales also show there are 894 covid-related cases in Welsh hospitals – up 26% from the same time last week.
He has said the “short, sharp shock” firebreak in Wales which begins at 6pm Friday was the best option to bring Covid-19 under control.
“If we don’t act now, the virus will continue to spread rapidly – beyond the measures we have in place to constrain it,” he said.
“If we wait, we would have to take more extreme measures to bring the virus under control. That could mean a longer or an open-ended lockdown, like the one we went through in March.”
This week, 25 people in Wales have died from coronavirus.
“Behind all these numbers are people with families and friends who are grieving the loss of a loved one – and there will be more.”
“My thoughts are with all of them.”
He said one of the reasons why we are seeing more people being admitted to hospital is because as the virus has become more widespread in Wales, it has spread from younger age groups to older people.
He said Public Health Wales reported 1,148 new confirmed cases yesterday which was “the highest number recorded since the start of the pandemic”.
“However, this only tells part of the story,” he said.
“The real number of infections in the community will be much higher.
“Our scientific experts have calculated the number of infections is growing at 4% each day, with the total number at 2,500 per day.
“We are seeing a definite increase in the number of people dying as a result of coronavirus.”