VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded another 378 cases of COVID-19 and seven related deaths, health officials said Thursday as the province marked a new vaccination milestone.

There have now been 143,264 coronavirus infections and 1,690 fatalities in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.

The latest deaths involved one person in their 60s, three people in their 70s and three people who were over the age of 80, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

"As always through this very difficult time, our condolences go to those who have lost loved ones – to their families, to their caregivers and to their whole communities," Henry said. "We mourn their loss."

Thursday's update follows days after the government loosened several COVID-19 rules and restrictions as part of B.C.'s four-step restart plan – the continuation of which will depend on infection rates continue to decline and vaccination rates continuing to increase.

Henry noted the province has just surpassed three million administered doses of vaccine, with approximately 66 per cent of the adult population now having received at least one dose.

"These are exciting times and this is exciting news," she said. "We know that these vaccines work. They're safe, they're highly effective, and simply put, they're saving lives across British Columbia right now."

B.C. has administered 3,032,811 doses as of Thursday, including 156,730 second doses.

The latest case numbers left the province's rolling weekly average at 330 infections per day, a slight increase from Wednesday. B.C.'s active caseload and hospitalizations decreased, however.

There are now 3,543 active cases across the province, with 286 patients battling the disease in hospital, 88 of whom are in intensive care.

Henry also announced that officials have shortened the recommended interval between shots to eight weeks.

That's still longer than the manufacturers' original recommendation, but only half as long as the extended interval of 16 weeks the province implemented in order to get as many people partially protected with one dose as possible.

"We are making great strides and we want to keep this momentum going," Henry said. "We now have sufficient, confirmed deliveries of vaccine in our age-based program - that's the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines - that we can move up the interval."

Starting Thursday, invitations to book a second shot are being sent to about 400,000 people who are over the age of 70 or deemed clinically extremely vulnerable, the provincial health officer added.

The first step of B.C.'s restart plan allowed residents to once again dine with friends in restaurants, and host as many as five guests (or one household) inside their home.

Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix had more good news to share on Thursday, including the resumption of indoor worship services. New guidance has been posted online for how churches and temples can begin offering in-person services for up to 50 people, provided they have detailed COVID-19 safety plans.

Henry offered thanks to the "wise council of the faith leaders" who have worked with the government on the plans.

"I look forward to our ongoing revision and opening up of all indoor faith services in the coming steps of our restart program," she added.

Officials also announced plans to resume non-urgent scheduled surgeries at the nine Lower Mainland hospitals that had to sacrifice some surgical resources to help patients battling COVID-19.

The surgeries will resume over a three-week period that began this week and will continue through the week of June 7.