B.C. public health teams reported 789 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday, double the seven-day average at the start of the week, as new restrictions were announced to limit indoor gatherings.
There are 191 people in hospital with active coronavirus infections as of Dec. 17, up by seven in the past 24 hours, with 74 in intensive care, up by four. There were three more deaths reported.
B.C.’s health ministry has now identified 302 cases of the Omicron variant, 145 of them in Island Health and 93 in Vancouver Coastal. There were 58 Omicron cases identified in Fraser Health, five in Interior Health and one in Northern Health.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday that B.C. is seeing the new variant of concern in regions where international travel is highest, and B.C. appears to be about a week behind Ontario in what appears to be a fifth wave of COVID-19. Public health teams are watching closely to see if the soon-to-be-dominant variant leads to increased serious illness, and Henry says as cases rise there will be some added pressure on hospitals.
B.C. health authorities continue to operate scheduled appointment COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the province for residents age five and older. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done online here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.
New and active cases by region for Dec. 17:
• 186 new cases in Fraser Health, 1,182 active
• 286 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,228 active
• 131 new cases in Interior Health, 688 active
• 39 new cases in Northern Health, 239 active
• 147 new cases in Island Healthm 975 active