Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19 on October 26, 2020: (Province of B.C. / Flickr)

Health officials say that 11 more cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Island Health region Thursday.

The health authority has now seen 928 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, 82 of which are currently active.

Across B.C., 683 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over the past 24 hours. Health officials say that eight more people have died of the virus over the same time period, bringing B.C.’s death toll to 901.

A one-day health order remains in effect across B.C., restricting the sale of alcohol past 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Liquor sales are set to resume at 9 a.m. Jan. 1, 2021.

B.C.’s top doctor says that the health order is intended to prevent COVID-19 transmission at restaurants and pubs, as people may be less inclined to follow safety measures after drinking alcohol.

“What can begin with a quiet dinner with our household or a friend can quickly turn into something more,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

She acknowledged that the health order will be a challenge for business owners and noted that the decision was not an indictment of the restaurant industry.

In fact, the health order is intended to support hospitality workers who must enforce safety measures among customers, said Henry.

Over the past 24 hours, 3,483 more COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in B.C., bringing the province’s total number of vaccinations to 17,510.

With vaccine doses being rolled out across the province, Henry hopes that B.C. will reach a turning point next year.

“My hope is that by this time next year we can look back at the sacrifices we made, big and small, and know that we made it out of this pandemic together by staying apart, connecting remotely and following the rules.

Meanwhile, a health-care outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital has now been declared over. The outbreak was first declared by Island Health on Dec. 1. It was ultimately linked to more than 20 cases of COVID-19 and claimed the lives of four people.