VANCOUVER -- More than 700 people have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 24 hours in British Columbia, health officials said.

In an update Wednesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced another 716 diagnoses.

All but two of the cases were confirmed through recent testing. The remaining two are epi-linked.

This latest update brings the rolling seven-day average up to 648 per day, the highest that metric has been since Dec. 19.

The joint statement also included the news that three more people have died of the disease.

The latest deaths bring the total toll of the pandemic in B.C. to 1,441.

With the latest infections from Wednesday's update, there have now been 93,969 total known cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

Of those, 5,573 are still considered active, with 303 people in hospital. There are 85 people being treated in intensive care units in the province, Henry and Dix said.

Another 9,696 people are under active public health monitoring following exposures to COVID-19, while 86,857 (92.4 per cent) are considered to have recovered.

Of the latest cases added, 71 are known to be variants of concern (VOC). This pushes the known variant case total up to 1,581 in the province, the vast majority of which are the B.1.1.7 variant associated with the U.K.

Henry and Dix said 148 VOC cases are considered active.

Wednesday's update included that 9.63 per cent of the population has now received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 25,000 doses have been administered since Dix and Henry's previous update. The health officials said 87,170 people have been given both doses.

Shots are available across B.C. for people aged 76 or older, and Indigenous people over the age of 55. As of next Monday, people who receive a "clinically extremely vulnerable" letter will also be able to make appointments, and there are exceptions in place already for some adults based on location or occupation.

For example, teachers in Surrey, a city the province described as B.C.'s "highest risk area," were able to get the shot starting Wednesday.

Prince Rupert has opened vaccine bookings to all adults due to concerns about transmission in the city, and thousands of front-line workers are eligible to get their shots in this phase, or will be in the coming weeks.