VICTORIA — British Columbia reported 2,046 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, eclipsing the previous record set the day before as the Omicron variant spreads.

The province says 975 cases of the highly transmissible variant have been confirmed so far, with more than half in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. 

There are 8,739 active cases across B.C. with 195 people in hospital. 

One more person has died, pushing the province’s death toll to 2,410. 

The Health Ministry says 87.7 per cent of eligible residents aged five and up have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 82.7 per cent have received two and 17 per cent of eligible adults have received a third shot.

It says people with two doses accounted for more than 75 per cent of new COVID-19 infections between Dec. 15 and 21, while people who had not been vaccinated made up more than 66 per cent of hospitalizations between Dec. 8 and 21.

Also Thursday, the B.C. government announced that one-time grants will be available for businesses forced to shut down under the latest public health rules.

Ravi Kahlon, the minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, said affected businesses, such as bars, fitness centres and event venues, would be able to apply for a grant ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 starting next month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2021. 

The Canadian Press