VANCOUVER -- One year after the start of B.C.'s longest-ever state of emergency, provincial officials opted to renew the declaration a 27th time.

The province has now been in a state of emergency for 52 weeks, which is 42 weeks longer than the previous record set during the 2017 wildfire season.

"British Columbians have been living with the challenges of COVID-19 for more than a year, and while our lives have changed, our resolve has not," Premier John Horgan said in a statement.

"This is a sobering occasion, but with vaccinations ongoing in B.C., it's also one for hope and optimism. Let's continue to follow public health orders and advice to ensure we can be healthy and safe as we look forward to better days ahead."

These states can only be issued in two-week intervals, though they can be called off at any time.

But B.C. is likely to remain in the state for some time. These states grant the government the power to enforce temporary measures put in place during an emergency.

In this case, being in a state of emergency means residents of and visitors to the province can be fined or worse for violating COVID-19-related public health orders.

While health officials opted last week to loosen some of the province's strict rules meant to reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus, many of the restrictions are still in place.

These include a ban on indoor gatherings with anyone outside of an individual's household, as well as mask mandates in indoor public spaces.

B.C. is in the process of opening its mass vaccination clinics and offering shots to older residents. Previous estimates suggest all adults will be offered at least their first dose of vaccine by the end of July, meaning restrictions may be further loosened as the summer approaches.

Earlier this month, the province's top doctor said B.C. could be in what she called a "post-pandemic world" by then.