VANCOUVER -- As British Columbians enjoyed their first weekend of loosened restrictions, health officials noted another 1,506 cases of COVID-19.

Eight of those were epidemiologically linked, Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a news conference Monday afternoon.

Over the same three-day period, 10 people died of the disease. The province's death toll has now reached 1,407.

The latest update brings B.C.'s total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 88,373.

Of those, 4,987 cases are considered active, with 269 being treated in hospital. The provincial health officer said 76 are in intensive care units across B.C.

More than 9,000 people are under active health monitoring following exposure to a known COVID case.

Henry said 81,890 people, or 92.7 per cent of those diagnosed, are considered to have recovered, meaning they are past the period during which they are contagious.

The province is currently dealing with several outbreaks in health-care facilities, including the latest, which are at the University of British Columbia Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital. 

There are six active outbreaks in long-term care, but currently none in assisted living. Another eight outbreaks are being managed in acute care in B.C.

The only community outbreak Henry mentioned was at a Langley glass factory, which was reported over the weekend. 

Another figure health officials are monitoring closely is the number of variant cases in B.C. In her latest update, the province's top doctor said 163 cases have been "identified retrospectively" to be variants of concern.

She said this brings the total to 880 known cases of VOCs, 195 of which are still active.

The vast majority, 818, have been diagnosed with the variant often associated with the U.K., known as B.1.1.7, and most of the cases are in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

Henry's latest news conference came days after her decision to loosen some of the province's restrictions. Last week, she announced residents who'd long been told not to socialize with people outside their household can now meet in groups of as many as 10 people, provided they stay outside.

It is not yet known what impact, if any, this change in restrictions will have, as any cases due to exposure over the weekend would not yet have been diagnosed.

"From the start of our COVID-19 pandemic, our provincial response has changed and adapted as we've learned – as we've learned about the virus, as we've learned about the tools that we have available to us, where the risks are the greatest," Henry said.

"And this will continue to be the case, as we learn more about the variants, about how they're transmitted, about what is required to manage the ever-evolving challenges of this pandemic."

As B.C. prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the provincial state of emergency, Henry reflected on where things were at this time in 2020, and where things are now.

Calling it "an exciting day for all of us," Henry said B.C.'s mass vaccination clinics for seniors and Elders began Monday

"It's the start of what is going to be ramped up quickly over the next coming weeks and months to be that everybody in British Columbia has access to one of our safe and effective vaccines."

As of Monday's update, 409,103 doses have been given across B.C. Of those, 87,059 are second doses.

The expansion of the vaccine rollout has also led to some people attempting to take advantage of seniors, Henry said, acknowledging a recent scam reported in Metro Vancouver

Police warned residents of West Vancouver last week of scammers claiming they'd come to would-be patients' homes to give them the shot. The fraudsters then ask for personal information including home addresses and credit card numbers, officers said.

Henry reminded seniors in Monday's update that health officials will never ask for any credit card information or any payment associated with the vaccine.

Her advice with these calls is to hang up.