VICTORIA, B.C. – The Northern Health region added 125 cases Tuesday, moving the active case count to 737.

There are 18 people in hospital, five of whom are in critical care.

The region’s death count is now at 276.

Out of 19,527 cases, 18,487 have recovered.

Another 1,123 were given since the last report, moving the total doses administered to 424,592. Of those, 186,261 are second doses and 35,382 are other doses.

Overall, the Province reported 2,542 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the active case count to 27,106.

There are 298 people in hospital, 86 of whom are in critical care.

The death count is now at 2,427.

Since last spring, 266,710 cases have been recorded, 236,309 of those have since recovered.

The province gave 61,847 doses since last reported, bringing the total dose count to 9,460,862. Of those, 4,117,846 are second doses and 961,367 are other doses.

British Columbia’s provincial health officer is advising businesses to put contingency plans in place to continue operating as up to one-third of their staff could be off sick with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says private companies, schools and health-care sites must all prepare for a wave of illness by reinforcing safety protocols like physical distancing to protect as many people as possible.

She says businesses that require employees to come into a workplace should stagger shifts and break times, use Plexiglas barriers and limit the number of customers entering the premises.

Henry says schools must remain open as a delayed start to classes begins next week because they provide the best social, emotional and intellectual development for children.

She says the next few weeks will be challenging as the province weathers a “pandemic storm” and capacity to test those who are sick is limited as 80 per cent of infections in the province are now due to Omicron.

Henry says vaccines are the best protection against infection, and case and contact tracing can no longer help contain the fast-spreading variant.