FILE – A worker picks up a COVID-19 self collection test kit which are given to arriving international passengers at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on July 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

FILE – A worker picks up a COVID-19 self collection test kit which are given to arriving international passengers at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on July 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. sees record-breaking 1,308 new COVID cases ahead of new restrictions

There have been more than 700 Omicron variant cases confirmed in the province

As B.C. moves towards a new set of restrictions to curb the Omicron variant from wreaking havoc, the province has recorded a grim record-breaking number of positive cases in a 24-hour window.

On Tuesday (Dec. 21), 1,308 more people tested positive for the respiratory disease since Monday. That brings the total number of cases since January 2020 to 229,643 in B.C.

There are 6,348 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 192 individuals are in hospital and 76 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

One more person has died, in the Northern Health Authority, bringing the total number of lives lost to 2,403.

Since about Nov. 30, there have been 756 cases of the Omicron variant, which is notably transmitting faster than other variants, experts have warned.

By region, there have been: 129 Omicron cases in Fraser Health, 413 in Vancouver Coastal Health, eight in Interior Health, two in Northern Health and 204 in Island Health.

READ MORE: Rapid testing to expand; return of mass-vaccination sites for COVID booster shots in B.C.

Those who are not fully vaccinated accounted for 30.7 per cent of the cases between Dec. 13 to 19, as well as 71.1 per cent of the hospitalizations.

Booster shots, which officials have said are the next step in curbing Omicron variants, are currently only being offered to those most at-risk of illness and death, as well as health-care workers and select groups, at the six-month mark of receiving their second vaccine dose.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday afternoon that the goal is to have all eligible residents boosted by the end of March 2022, a month earlier than expected.

The new cases come as B.C. shutters all gyms and fitness centres, as well as bars, and restricts indoor dining. A ban is in effect on indoor events, too.

New COVID cases by region:

  • Fraser Health: 419 new cases (Total active cases: 2,024)
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: 525 new cases (Total active cases: 2,326)
  • Interior Health: 138 new cases (Total active cases: 695)
  • Northern Health: 23 new cases (Total active cases: 186)
  • Island Health: 202 new cases (Total active cases: 1,116)

READ MORE: B.C. closes gyms and bars, bans indoor organized events over holidays as Omicron surges

ALSO READ: Sports tournaments, New Year’s parties banned in B.C. Omicron surge


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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