Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix outline holiday season gathering restrictions to reduce COVID-19 infections, B.C. legislature, Dec. 21, 2021. (B.C. government photo)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix outline holiday season gathering restrictions to reduce COVID-19 infections, B.C. legislature, Dec. 21, 2021. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. COVID-19 cases soar past 4,000 Thursday, hospitalization stable

More than 1,000 higher than Wednesday’s record infections

B.C. public health teams reported 4,383 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday, as the steep rise in infections continued with the dominance of the more rapidly transmissible Omicron variant.

There are 211 people in hospital with active coronavirus infections as of Dec. 30, up five over the past 24 hours, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports, with 66 people in critical care. There has been one additional death in the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,420 attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic began in early 2020.

Confirmed new infections have jumped from below 800 on Dec. 17 to 2,550 in the 24 hours up to Christmas Day and just under 3,000 for Wednesday. The sharp rise has come despite B.C. testing centres reaching their limit.

Asked Wednesday about the true rate of virus infection spread as the B.C. health care system has reached its maximum of about 20,000 daily tests, Henry said the actual rate is not known but it could be three to four times the rate of positive molecular tests recorded on a given day. That has been consistent since the pandemic began almost two years ago, she said.

After booster vaccines were administered across senior care homes and visitors required to be vaccinated, outbreaks in the health care system briefly dropped to zero. But Wednesday there were five new health-care facility outbreaks, at The Oxford Senior Care Home in Abbotsford, Fort Langley Seniors Community, AgeCare Harmony Court in Burnaby, The Waverly Seniors Village in Chilliwack and Detwiller Pavilion, a psychosis unit at UBC Hospital in Vancouver.

Six more outbreaks were reported Thursday, all in the Fraser Health region, at Mission Memorial Hospital, New Vista Care Centre in Burnaby, Chartwell Langley Gardens, Chartwell Carlton Gardens in Burnaby, Chartwell Crescent Gardens in Surrey and Guildford Seniors Village in Surrey.

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.

RELATED: Ontario study finds Omicron variant less severe

RELATED: Omicron surge overwhelms B.C. testing, tracing


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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