A dozen COVID-19 deaths, 481 cases confirmed over the weekend in B.C.

British Columbia recorded another 481 cases of COVID-19 and suffered 12 related deaths over the weekend, as the province's curve continued to bend downward.

The latest numbers were announced Monday by deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson, and included 131 coronavirus cases identified from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon – marking the lowest single-day increase since Oct. 13.

"British Columbians are doing very well with immunization against COVID-19 and the results are very encouraging," Gustafson said.

The province's rolling weekly average for COVID-19 cases also dropped below 200 per day over the weekend. B.C.'s average now sits at 177, which is the lowest it's been since Oct. 20.

Active cases and hospitalizations continued to fall as well. The province's active caseload dropped to 2,102 – a decrease of about 350 cases from Friday – while hospitalizations fell to 199, which includes 63 patients in intensive care.

The encouraging numbers come almost two weeks after B.C. relaxed several of its COVID-19 restrictions, and eight days before the province's target date for entering Step 2 of the government's restart plan.

Under the next phase, which his set to begin on June 15 at the earliest, B.C. is expected to reopen movie theatres, allow recreational travel across the province, resume indoor team sports and high-intensity fitness classes, and extended liquor hours in bars and restaurants to midnight.

"At the moment, when we look at what were the criteria that were established for being able to move to the next stage, we are on track," Gustafson said.

One criteria involves getting 65 per cent of adults partially immunized with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and the province has already blown past that target.

B.C. administered another 146,911 shots of COVID-19 vaccine as well, bringing B.C.'s total to 3,635,795. That includes 3,321,549 first doses, enough to cover 74 per cent of the adult population and 72 per cent of everyone 12 and older.

Gustafson said 39 per cent of youth between the ages of 12 and 17, an age group that only became eligible for vaccine on May 20, have already received a first dose.

Health officials encouraged anyone who hasn't received a vaccine yet to do so, to help ensure the province's numbers keep declining through the summer.

"We've been focussed on preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Orders and restrictions are part of our daily lives," Gustafson said. "But now we are in a much better position as a province and we can start to focus on all there is to be gained through immunization – and there's so much."