VANCOUVER -- British Columbia announced another 429 cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths from the disease on Tuesday.

The province has now recorded 68,366 coronavirus infections and 1,218 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

In a joint written statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix noted they are seeing "an encouraging trend" in the province's COVID-19 curve.

"The efforts you are making, combined with the immunization of our long-term care residents and workers, are making a difference," they said.

"With everyone in B.C. following the restrictions we have in place and always using our layers of protection, we are not only starting to slow the spread in B.C., but are also better positioned to deal with the uncertainties of the new variants of concern."

Health officials are expected to announce Friday whether the current restrictions will be lifted, eased or extended. They will also be providing updated modelling data for the province.

While the number of new cases announced Tuesday is slightly below the seven-day average of 447, active cases jumped to 4,542 – an increase of more than 400 from Monday.

That appears to be due to an unusually small number of reported recoveries. B.C.'s recoveries increased by just 12 on Tuesday, compared to an average of 469 per day over the past week.

Hospitalizations increased slightly to 294 patients, 82 of whom are in intensive care.

The province has now administered 140,452 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines across the province, including 5,097 second doses.

There have been disappointing delays getting vaccine doses into Canada in recent weeks. Earlier on Tuesday, Justin Trudeau announced a deal with Novavax to produce COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, though it isn't expected to be ready to do so until the fall.

B.C. officials also announced one new outbreak, at the CareLife Fleetwood health-care facility in Surrey. Another outbreak at Heritage Retirement Residence has been declared over.