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B.C. adds 2,046 cases of COVID-19, breaking record for 3rd day in a row


British Columbia's unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases continued on Thursday, with the government announcing more than 2,000 daily infections for the first time in the pandemic.

The province has now broken its all-time record for single-day increases for three consecutive days.

Case numbers have surged almost six-fold since Dec. 13, skyrocketing from 349 up to 2,046 in less than two weeks. Thursday's update also pushed B.C.'s seven-day average up to an all-time high of 1,167 infections per day.

The numbers have already exceeded the worst-case scenario outlined by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during a modelling presentation earlier this month, which estimated the potential impacts of the Omicron variant.

Henry is scheduled to appear at a news conference to address the province's COVID-19 situation at 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve, along with Health Minister Adrian Dix. CTV News will be streaming the event live.

The Ministry of Health confirmed there are now 975 confirmed Omicron cases in the province, up from 756 as of Tuesday. The total has more than tripled over the last week.

Hospitalizations have remained relatively stable, though officials have cautioned they are a lagging indicator, meaning trends tend to follow behind cases after a period of delay. There are 195 infectious COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Thursday, including 75 in intensive care.

Much remains unknown about the impact of Omicron's numerous mutations, though Henry has pointed to emerging evidence that it is more transmissible and has more immune evasion than previous variants. It also appears to have a shorter incubation time, according to officials.

The B.C. government has implemented a number of new COVID-19 restrictions in an effort to control transmission over the holiday season, including new gathering limits, restaurant rules, venue capacity limits and vaccine passport requirements. Bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centres and adult dance studios have also been ordered to close until Jan. 18.

Thursday's update included one additional COVID-19 related death, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 2,410.

There have been no new outbreaks in long-term care or assisted-living facilities, something Henry has attributed to the province's vaccine booster campaign, which has prioritized vulnerable populations for third doses.

As of Thursday, 87.7 per cent of eligible B.C. residents had received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 82.7 per cent had received two shots. Third doses had been administered to approximately 17 per cent of those eligible for them. Top Stories

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