The highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading quickly in Canada, with new cases identified across all provinces.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, confirmed that 350 cases of the new strain have been identified collectively in 11 provinces and territories. A growing number of these cases aren’t linked to travel, she warned, meaning “community transmission has been established in several areas of the country.”

There were more than 43,000 active COVID cases across Canada as of Thursday. The federal government’s most recent hospitalization figures are from Monday, when at least 1,000 people were admitted to Canadian hospitals with COVID-19, including 453 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and 229 on respirators.

On Thursday, 19 people in Canada with COVID-19 died.

Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the spread of Omicron was "widely expected, in line with what we have seen in other countries, and we will probably see an increase in cases in coming days". He also stated that those unvaccinated are the highest at risk.