B.C. health officials announced 625 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths on Wednesday, the first time since late November that deaths related to coronavirus have been in the single digits.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at a record high 381 people, 78 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 962 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
There are currently 6,343 active cases of coronavirus in the province, a slight drop from 6,472 on Tuesday. Public health is monitoring 8,719 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. More than 46,728 people who tested positive have recovered.
A total of 55,254 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed so far in B.C.
B.C. recorded two new outbreaks in health-care facilities, at Chilliwack General Hospital and Sunnybank Retirement Home in Oliver.
Wednesday's new case count represents a jump of almost 200 from Tuesday, when the province reported 428 new cases.
"While the number of new cases and those with serious illness is higher than any of us want, there is light ahead, and with each day that we do our part and more people get immunized, that light gets brighter," health officials said in a written statement.
In their statement, Henry and Dix acknowledged this can be a difficult time of year for many people, with those challenges amplified by the stress of the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, 33,665 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose in B.C., around 0.8 per cent of those eligible to receive it.
Public health alert in effect for Revelstoke
A public health alert remains in effect for the Revelstoke region in southeastern B.C., where community transmission and new cases of COVID-19 have increased substantially, surpassing 85 total cases in recent days.
The weekly case numbers in Revelstoke are, on a per capita basis, higher than many other areas of B.C. and there is no specific source for the new cases.
On Wednesday, health officials said 90 per cent of patients whose surgeries were delayed during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring were able to have those procedures completed by late November.
The ministry said a total 163,696 people received their surgeries between May 18 — the day surgeries started up again — and Nov. 22. Roughly 29,100 of those people were among those who had their procedures delayed in the spring, health officials said.