VICTORIA — British Columbia’s Health Ministry says the number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 has risen to 317 as the province deals with the Omicron variant.

The government said Wednesday there were 3,798 new COVID-19 cases and a total of 29,967 active cases.

The Fraser Health authority had the most new and active cases.

The Health Ministry says there were no new deaths to report but 83 people were in intensive care units.

Just over 88 per cent of eligible people five and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 83 per cent have had a second shot and 21.5 per cent have received a booster.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth issued a statement in support of health-care workers after receiving reports of people attempting to intimidate or threaten workers at COVID-19 testing sites.

“Our health-care workers need a safe and respectful workplace, free of abuse and threats of violence, so they can continue their work to keep us safe,” the statement says.

They say the government’s Access to Services Act makes impeding the work of or intimidating workers at testing sites illegal and can result in criminal charges.

There were 21 long-term care, health-care or seniors living facilities with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks.

Henry said Tuesday that 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 said the next few weeks will be challenging as the province’s testing capacity is limited by the rapid spread of Omicron.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2022.

The Canadian Press