OTTAWA — Canada reported 30,435 new COVID-19 cases Saturday morning, raising its national total to 2,512,577 with 30,742 deaths, according to local media CTV.

Ontario, the most populous province in the country, reported 13,362 new COVID-19 cases and 31 new deaths on Saturday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has continued to rise in Ontario over the last week, with at least 2,594 people being treated in hospital as of Saturday.

The province reported 385 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units on Saturday. Of those patients, 219 were breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. The province had 337 ICU patients on Friday and 288 on Thursday.

Quebec, another populous province, confirmed 15,928 new cases and additional 44 deaths on Saturday. Nova Scotia, a province with a population of nearly one million, reported 1,145 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

Omicron has been spreading at a rate unlike anything Canadians have ever seen before, completely overwhelming the country’s testing capacity and infecting more Canadians than at any other point in the pandemic as hospitalizations reach record highs.

Canada is responding to the Omicron-driven surge by reimposing strict public health measures – ranging from curfews to the closure of bars, restaurants and gyms, and even delaying the return to school.

COVID-19 cases are expected to continue to increase dramatically before they peak in the coming weeks.

On Friday, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam called for “increased vigilance” as “exponential growth of Omicron” predominates across Canada over the coming weeks.

In a statement on Friday, the health official stressed that the Omicron variant spreads extremely quickly and the number of infected people can rise rapidly.

During the period between Dec. 30 and Jan. 5, the latest data from the Public Health Agency of Canada showed that a daily average of 41,743 new cases and 3,646 hospitalizations were reported, up 65 percent and 91 percent respectively from the previous week.