VANCOUVER -- Another 122 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in British Columbia, pushing the province's active caseload past 1,600 for the first time in the pandemic.

Wednesday's update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix brings the total number of cases identified locally to 7,498.

There are also now 1,614 active cases across the province, up from around 300 at the beginning of August.

While big parties have been blamed for much of the spread in recent months, officials said they have been seeing an increase in cases associated with smaller get-togethers.

"Large gatherings have been a steady source of transmission. However, many of the new cases we are seeing in the past weeks are from small gatherings where people see different groups of friends on different days – inadvertently spreading the virus to many people," Henry and Dix said in a joint written statement.

"Let’s not forget that if we are close enough, doing enough and with enough different people, the likelihood of transmitting the virus significantly goes up. That is why it is so important to make our social interactions a ‘small and safe six,’ keeping to our immediate households and the same close friends only."

Officials have been using a new slogan in recent days, "stick to six," that's supposed to help people make responsible choices with regards to their social lives.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dipped slightly to 60, down from 63 on Tuesday, but the number of patients in intensive care or critical care units increased to 23. There haven't been that many people in ICU as a result of the pandemic since May 3.

Officials said no one else has died from the coronavirus, however, leaving the death toll at 219.

Henry and Dix also announced another 98 people have recovered from COVID-19 since their last update, bringing B.C.'s total number of recoveries to 5,646.

While there have been no new outbreaks in health care facilities or in the community, health authorities are still battling 14 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, assisted living facilities and acute care units in the Lower Mainland.

There are also still "exposure events" popping up across the province, including several at public and private schools. Officials announced that Fraser Health has set up a website to publicize school exposures, and that other health authorities will be launching their own soon.