VANCOUVER -- Health officials in B.C. have announced 471 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths from the disease in their final pandemic update of the week.

B.C. has now recorded 69,716 cases of the coronavirus and 1,246 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

There are currently 4,423 active cases in B.C., a total that includes 253 people who are hospitalized, 70 of them in intensive care.

Friday's update came in a written statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Earlier in the day, the pair held a live briefing during which they announced the extension of COVID-19-related public health orders and discussed the province's latest modelling of the spread of the virus.

In their written statement, Henry and Dix referred back to the modelling data, saying the province has made progress since the start of 2021, but warning that that progress is fragile.

"There are some encouraging signs that the efforts of people throughout our province are working," the health officials said. "By spending less time with others, by staying local and using our layers of protection, we are flattening our curve."

Leaving health orders prohibiting social gatherings and events in place will help buy the province time until larger amounts of vaccines can be delivered and new variants of the virus are better understood, Dix and Henry said.

“We want a smooth, flat path to the finish with few, if any, hurdles of outbreaks or unchecked transmission in our community," they said. "We are not quite there yet, but we are getting closer every day. Each holiday and occasion this month – Super Bowl, Lunar New Year, Family Day or Valentine’s Day – is an opportunity for us to either allow the virus to spread or to slow it down even more. The choice is ours to make."

There are 6,886 people currently under active public health monitoring because of exposures to known cases of the coronavirus, and a total of 149,564 doses of vaccines have been administered so far, 10,366 of them second doses.

A total of 62,567 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered recovered.