VICTORIA — British Columbia’s COVID-19 cases are climbing with 753 new infections and three more deaths reported Thursday. 

The Health Ministry says in a news release there are now 135 cases of the contagious Omicron variant, a steep rise from the 44 confirmed as of Sunday and reported Tuesday. 

There are a total of 3,878 active cases of COVID-19, with 184 in hospital, including 70 people in intensive care. 

The news comes after the fast-spreading Omicron variant prompted an advisory from the federal government Wednesday warning against non-essential international travel over the holidays. 

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has said the province is also considering further public health orders on gatherings in a bid to limit the spread. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dix are scheduled to give an update Friday at 1 p.m.

There have been 224,998 COVID-19 cases and 2,396 deaths in B.C. to date. 

Fifteen per cent of eligible adults have received their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 86.8 per cent of eligible people five and older have received their first dose and 82.5 per cent have their second.

Vancouver Coastal Health had the largest share of new cases with 240, followed closely by Fraser Health with 232. Fraser Health also has the highest number of total active cases at 1,091. 

The Island Health region had the highest number of Omicron cases confirmed at 71.

An independent school in Surrey, B.C., was closed to in-person instruction Thursday due to an outbreak.

Fraser Health says in a statement 23 COVID-19 cases were identified among staff and students at Khalsa School Old Yale Road.

The Health Ministry says there have been no new health-care facility outbreaks and an outbreak at Ponderosa Lodge in the Interior Health region has been declared over.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press