VANCOUVER -- Fraser Health is looking to recruit British Columbians in their 20s to become what it calls "health influencers" - a group of advisors helping the health authority reach young people with messages about COVID-19.

The plan is a response to the recent surge of coronavirus cases in the province among young adults, the health authority said in a news release Friday.

People between ages 20 and 29 represented just 12 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the Fraser Health region during the pandemic's early days, according to Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee.

"In recent weeks, we have seen a substantial increase in this demographic, with 30 per cent of new cases within this group, though they comprise just 14 per cent of Fraser Health’s population,” said Lee in the release.

The health authority is asking people in that age group to visit its website and join an online panel that it will be consulting on messaging and tactics for reaching their peers. 

"We wanted to bring people who are 20 to 29 years old to better understand, you know, what is their understanding of COVID-19? How are they dealing with it? What are the ways that they feel we could better reach out to this group?" said Dr. Aamir Bharmal, medical health officer for Fraser Health.

The health authority has already released videos on its official TikTok account aimed at young people who may be planning to celebrate the end of summer by going to parties.

Bharmal said ways to stay safe during the pandemic are already well known, but the health authority's hope is to find the best ways to convey those messages to ensure that they resonate.

"It's not just the messaging," he said. "It's also really thinking about how do we better understand all of the people who might be potentially at risk, and how are we tailoring our communications to reach those people?"