VANCOUVER -- B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced on Twitter Friday that there had been 11 more deaths from COVID-19 and 624 additional cases of the disease confirmed over the last 24 hours.

"We pass on our deepest condolences to their families, friends, caregivers and communities. Today we think of them; we think of their loss; and we grieve with them," the health minister said.

Nearly an hour after Dix's tweet, the Ministry of Health issued the official written statement from Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that contained all of Friday's COVID-19 numbers.

There are currently 9,978 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., the health officials said in their statement. Of that total, 356 people are in hospital, 92 of them in intensive care.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 45,400 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 724 deaths from the disease

The officials also announced that 1,376 health-care workers had received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the last day. B.C. has now administered a total of 2,592 doses of the vaccine.

“The focus of our immunization program right now is to safely protect as many people as possible as efficiently as we can, but we have to remember that this is a global effort with many aspects often changing," Henry and Dix said in their statement. "As more vaccine arrives in the coming weeks, we all need to be patient and continue to follow public health orders to keep our communities safe."

They added that there have been no new outbreaks of the coronavirus in health-care facilities, but that a community outbreak had been declared at Rossdown Natural Foods, a poultry-processing plant in Abbotsford.

Most of the new cases reported Friday were in the Fraser Health region, where 406 infections were recorded in the last 24 hours. There were also 106 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 60 in Interior Health, 47 in Northern Health and five in Island Health.

A further 10,211 people are under active public health monitoring because of exposures to known cases of the coronavirus.

A total of 33,589 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered recovered.

With schools across B.C. concluding their final day before winter break Friday, Henry and Dix offered suggestions for how families could spend their holidays without spreading the coronavirus.

"There are many ways for young people to enjoy this special time of year," the health officials said. "Take a night-time walk in your neighbourhood to look at local light displays. Consider dropping off baked goods or homemade gifts or cards to neighbours or those in long-term care to brighten someone else’s day."

They also encouraged people to shop for last minute gifts locally, being patient with each other and using layers of protection to avoid virus transmission.

“This holiday season will be like no other," Dix and Henry said. "It will be a quieter time than what many of us are used to, but it is important to remember that we will get through this storm. The steps we take in the last days of 2020 are going to ensure a brighter, healthier and safer 2021 for all of us."