VANCOUVER -- Health officials have announced 23 new test-positive cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, as well as three more deaths.

The patients who died were all seniors in long-term care, health officials said Wednesday, bringing the total of number of deaths in B.C. from COVID-19 to 124. Two of the deaths were recorded in the Vancouver Coastal Health area, and the third was in the Island Health region.

British Columbia has now recorded a total of 2,255 positive cases of the virus.

Among the new cases, one was linked to the Kearl Lake project in Alberta, and another was linked to the ongoing community outbreak at Superior Poultry in Coquitlam. There are now seven confirmed positive cases at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, 56 at Superior Poultry and 35 at United Poultry in Vancouver.

No new outbreaks were detected at long-term care or assisted living facilities, and outbreaks at 17 care centres are now considered to be over. However, there are still 17 long-term care and five acute-care centres with active outbreaks of the virus.

There are 74 patients currently in hospital with COVID-19, and of those, 19 are in critical care or ICU. There are now 1,494 people who are considered to be fully recovered from the virus.

During Tuesday's update, health officials announced just eight new positive cases of the virus, marking the lowest increase in new coronavirus cases since mid-March.

In a news conference on Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Premier John Horgan announced the province's plans for gradually reopening some businesses and services, but emphasized the importance of ongoing vigilance.

"This thoughtful and careful approach is the way we're going. We do not want to be starting and stopping and starting and stopping," said Henry. "So I believe that this plan and the way we put it together gives us the tools so that we can increase our contacts, our numbers, and our safe contacts in a way that keeps us on the steady state for at least the coming months."

The "restart" will happen in phases, and Horgan cautioned that it would not be like the "flipping of a switch," with changes happening gradually.

"We're telling you the planning," said Henry. "We had another 23 people who were affected today. We have hundreds of people who we're following in public health still. So we have a little bit of time. We're looking at the middle of May."

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel

Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.