VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded 12 more deaths from COVID-19 and 582 additional cases of the disease in the last 24 hours.

Health officials announced the new numbers in a written statement Thursday, their last update of the week.

Active cases have dropped below 9,000, with 8,865 infections currently considered active in B.C. Of those, 341 people are in hospital with the coronavirus, including 78 who are in intensive care.

The last time there were fewer than 9,000 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. was Dec. 2.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 48,609 confirmed cases and 808 deaths. A total of 37,784 people who have had the virus are now considered recovered.

In their statement Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix also said 8,178 people have now been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“In addition to our health-care workers, immunization of residents in long-term care is now also underway," the pair said. "Given seniors and elders have been most severely impacted by this virus, this is welcome news for all of us."

Thursday's numbers continue a trend Henry noted during her update on the province's modelling of the pandemic on Wednesday, when she said the growth in new cases has "started to slow down."

"What we are doing is working, but we cannot let up," Henry said during her live briefing on Wednesday.

That was the message in Thursday's statement as well.

“By staying small and staying apart this holiday season, we’re protecting the people we care about most and ensuring the coming weeks and months are better, brighter and safer for everyone," Dix and Henry said. "Together, let’s make this holiday season a safe season for all of us.”

Most of the new infections reported Thursday were located in the Lower Mainland, with 326 in the Fraser Health region and 107 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Elsewhere in B.C., Interior Health added 71 cases, Northern Health added 68 and Island Health added 10 over the last 24 hours.

Across the province, 9,732 people are under active public health monitoring because of exposures to known cases of COVID-19.

There were no new community or health-care outbreaks declared Thursday, Henry and Dix said.

That said, the provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries announced that a second mink farm in the Fraser Valley had seen animals test positive for the coronavirus. The ministry did not say whether any humans associated with the farm had tested positive.