B.C. health officials reported 1,068 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with three new deaths.
Of the new cases, 352 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 492 were in the Fraser Health region, 73 were in Island Health, 106 were in Interior Health, and 43 were in Northern Health.
The seven-day average for new cases is now 993, the highest on record.
The province said there were 207 new cases of variants of concern. B.C. has recorded 3,766 variant cases in total, of which 266 are active.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the B.1.1.7 strain is dominant in B.C., but that in the last few weeks there has been an increase in the P.1 variant.
“Cases have surged and people are having a much higher number of contacts, and that has meant increased numbers of people in hospital,” she said.
“We know much of this transmission is happening in younger people, so that means numbers of younger people in hospital has increased, and numbers of younger people needing ICU care has increased, and that is concerning.”
There are 8,671 active COVID-19 cases in the province. The number of people in self-isolation rose sharply to 14,101, a record high. On Monday, the province said just under 12,000 people were isolating due to possible exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Henry said much of the increased transmission recently is due to social gatherings where people are disobeying public health guidelines.
“Unnecessary travel and social gatherings are fuelling the fire for the variant of concern transmissions as well,” she said. “The virus is adapting and is taking advantage wherever it can.”
The three deaths bring the province’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,489.
The number of people in hospital with the disease rose by 10 to 328. Ninety-six people are in intensive care, tying the highest number recorded in B.C.
To date, 912,056 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., of which 87,474 were second doses.
Earlier in the day the province unrolled its website where eligible adults can register to get their vaccinations.
As of Tuesday morning, seniors 71 years and older, all Indigenous adults 18 and older, and people who are clinically vulnerable can register for their shot on the Get Vaccinated website.
People over the age of 65 can sign up online but only people 71 and older can register for an appointment right now.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, 93,031 people registered for their vaccine through the Get Vaccinated system. This includes 82,249 people who registered using the online tool and 10,872 registered using the new province-wide phone system.