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COVID-19 surges as B.C. reports reports 753 cases, more than double last Thursday

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Rising cases in two B.C. health regions'
COVID-19: Rising cases in two B.C. health regions
There are two COVID-19 hot spots in our province, setting the stage for potential new restrictions in the province. Keith Baldrey has more on what health regions are seeing. – Dec 16, 2021

British Columbia reported three deaths and 753 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, more than doubling the number of new cases reported one week ago.

The update pushed the province’s seven-day average for new cases to 489, and left B.C. with 3,878 active cases.

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The spike in cases was largely driven by transmission in the Lower Mainland, where there were 232 new cases in the Fraser Health region and 240 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Another 137 cases were reported in the Island Health region, while 99 were in the Interior Health region and 45 were in the Northern Health region.

Officials also declared new outbreaks at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, where five patients tested positive, and the Khalsa School Old Yale Road in Surrey, where 23 students tested positive.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Omicron impact on holiday plans'
COVID-19: Omicron impact on holiday plans

There were 184 active cases in hospital, including 70 people in critical or intensive care. Hospitalizations are considered a “lagging indicator,” meaning they tend to reflect transmissions that occurred weeks ago.

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Thursday’s spike in new cases followed two consecutive days in which the province reported more than 500 new infections, after weeks of holding steady in the 300-450 range.

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It also came amid growing concern over the spread of the Omicron variant, believed to be the most transmissible variant yet. On Thursday, the province said it had confirmed 135 cases of the new variant more than three times the number it reported on Tuesday.

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On Wednesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed that health officials were considering the possibility of new restrictions amid rapidly climbing case numbers.

More than 4.3 million British Columbians, 86.8 per cent of those eligible and 84 per cent of B.C.’s population, has had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Of them, more than 4.1 million people, 82.5 per cent of those eligible and 79.8 per cent of B.C.’s population, has had two doses.

More than 660,000 people, 12.8 per cent of British Columbians, have had a third booster dose.

The province says people who were not fully vaccinated made up 46.3 per cent of cases in the past week and 70.2 per cent of hospitalizations over the past two weeks.

Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. has reported 224,998 total cases and 2,396 deaths.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 cases growing in one B.C. health region'
COVID-19 cases growing in one B.C. health region

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