VANCOUVER -- Health officials in British Columbia said two more people have died from COVID-19 and that another 148 have been diagnosed with the disease.

Thursday's update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry pushed the total number of cases identified locally since the start of the pandemic to 8,543. The death toll has reached 229.

Henry took a moment to offer condolences to the victims' families, and particularly to the community that lost a First Nations elder in B.C.'s north over the weekend.

"I've had the opportunity since then to reach out indirectly to the family," Henry said. "I just want to express our deep, deep condolences, understanding how important the elders are in our communities."

Officials also announced another outbreak in the health care system, this time at the Banfield Pavilion long-term care home in Vancouver.

The number of active outbreaks in B.C. remains at 14 because the outbreak at Opal by Element, a retirement home also located in Vancouver, has been declared over, Henry said.

The latest cases were offset by 148 additional recoveries that were recorded in B.C. since Wednesday's update. A total of 6,917 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province since the start of the pandemic, leaving 1,371 active cases, a slight dip from the previous day.

The number of hospitalizations has decreased by one, down to 61, but the number of patients in critical care and intensive care units increased by two, up to 20.

Another 3,416 are under active public health monitoring as a result of possible COVID-19 exposure.

Hours before B.C.'s update, the Quebec health minister told people in that province to cancel their Thanksgiving plans and stay home unless "truly necessary."

Henry said British Columbians should celebrate the upcoming holiday, but only with a "small number of people" who are close contacts or members of their household bubble.

"It is a challenge," Henry said, adding that "this is not the year" for large family gatherings.

The provincial health officer also addressed the growing number of COVID-19 exposure events at schools, which has caused some concern among parents.

Henry said there have been 30 such exposures, which she described as a small fraction of the more than 2,000 schools across B.C.

"With millions of children going back into the schools in the last few weeks, this is to be expected. We have had no outbreaks in our school system yet," she said. "Public health is there for every single school and we will continue to be there as we move through this pandemic."