VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials announced 908 more cases of COVID-19 Friday in their final update of the week.

The last time the province added more than 900 cases of the coronavirus to its total in a single day was on Nov. 27, when B.C. saw 911 new cases. The 908 added Friday marks the second-highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Health officials also announced three more deaths from COVID-19.

The update, which came in the form of a written statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, also brought B.C. over the 95,000 mark for total cases.

Since the pandemic began, the province has seen a total of 95,677 COVID-19 infections and 1,449 related deaths.

There are currently 6,245 active cases in B.C., including 294 people who are hospitalized with the disease. Of those in hospital, 81 are in intensive care units.

B.C.'s active caseload is now the highest it has been since Jan. 7, and the seven-day rolling average of new cases has reached 698, its highest mark since Dec. 7.

A further 9,996 people are being monitored by public health officials because of exposures to known cases of the coronavirus.

In their statement, Henry and Dix called the current situation "a different stage of our COVID-19 pandemic" because of the availability of vaccines. That said, they described the province's surging caseload as "concerning."

"We are facing a sustained increase in clusters of new cases and outbreaks, including increasing cases caused by variants of concern," Dix and Henry said. "This is particularly concerning in the Lower Mainland areas. This requires all of us to continue to put our safety layers at the forefront of all we do."

Among the cases added Friday were 140 newly confirmed variants of concern. There have now been a total of 1,912 variant cases in B.C., including 1,666 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant associated with the U.K., 199 cases of the P.1 variant associated with Brazil, and 47 cases of the B.1.351 variant associated with South Africa.

On the vaccine front, B.C. has now administered a total of 637,856 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII shots. Of that total, 87,233 have been second doses.

The 550,623 first doses administered equate to roughly 10.7 per cent of B.C.'s population.

Henry and Dix said the vaccines are "increasing the protection for all of us," but warned that the easing of some restrictions - such as on outdoor gatherings and care home visits - does not mean the threat of the virus is decreasing.

“We have been able to slowly turn the dial on some restrictions," the pair said. "However, we all need to remember while some activities are safe for us to do, others simply are not."

“Social connections and the sharing of a meal or a hug is important for us all, yet we must be vigilant that our need for those connections doesn’t put ourselves or those we care about in harm’s way," they said.


This is a developing story. Check back for updates.