The province reported 564 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 35 new cases in the Island Health region.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province is seeing an uptick in cases that needs to be monitored closely.
“We can’t let the successes of these great vaccines that we have now be diminished by a surge in cases that will lead us to a third wave,” said Henry.
She said until more people are vaccinated and transmission is under control, pandemic-related closures and restrictions on gathering must remain in place, although they are regularly reviewed.
On the Island, there are 272 active COVID-19 cases, the majority of which are in the central region at 154, followed by 68 in the north and 50 in the south. There are 17 people in the region in hospital with COVID-19, one in critical care.
There are now 4,743 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C. Of those, 248 are in hospital, including 63 in critical or intensive care.
The province reported 46 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern, bringing the total to 246 to date — 16 of which are still active.
The majority of those are the U.K. variant and have been found in the Fraser Health region.
Four more COVID-deaths were reported on Thursday, bringing the total to 1,376.
There are outbreaks in seven assisted-living or long-term care homes — including Glacier View Lodge in Courtenay — and three independent living residences — none on the Island. There are eight outbreaks in acute-care settings.
Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix both spoke on Thursday about easing restrictions for visitors to long-term care and assisted living, but did not offer specifics on how that will work.