VANCOUVER -- British Columbia announced 600 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as the province's active caseload dropped below 6,000 for the first time since March.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced one more death related to the disease. The province has now recorded a total of 137,223 infections and 1,628 related fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

B.C.'s rolling seven-day average for cases, which has been coming down for several weeks, increased slightly to 612 per day. But the province's active caseload fell to 5,887, the lowest it's been since March 25.

Hospitalizations remained fairly flat Wednesday, with 423 patients battling the disease in hospital, including 141 in intensive care.

Earlier in the day, the province reached a new milestone in its immunization program after vaccinating 50 per cent of the eligible population.

"Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel in this pandemic, and that light is growing brighter by the day," Henry said in a statement. "By getting vaccinated when it is your turn and helping others register so they can do the same, we can protect our loved ones, our communities and ourselves from COVID-19."

The province administered another 57,462 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccine since Tuesday's update, bringing the total to 2,277,318.

That includes 2,162,023 first doses – enough to protect 42 per cent of the total population, not just those who are eligible – and 115,295 second doses.

On Wednesday evening, people who are 30 and up across the province will become eligible for their first dose of vaccine. Text and email invitations will be going out to those who are resgistered on the Get Vaccinated website.

Health officials also clarified their stance on AstraZeneca, saying the vaccine will only be used for second doses going forward, as it now is in Ontario and Alberta.

"Existing pharmacy bookings will proceed, but no additional appointments will be accepted at this time," Henry and Dix said in a joint statement.

"We are also awaiting the findings of studies currently underway on interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. This will help determine our approach and options for second doses."