B.C. adds record-breaking 1,293 cases of COVID-19, pushing seven-day average above 1,000

British Columbia announced another 1,293 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, shattering its previous record for infections identified over 24 hours.

The update also pushed the province's rolling weekly average to a new high of 1,056 cases per day, marking the first time it has topped 1,000 since the start of the pandemic.

The province's active caseload increased to 9,184 – the highest it's been since Dec. 22 – which includes 336 patients in hospital, 101 of whom are in intensive care.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced two new deaths related to COVID-19, bringing B.C.'s total to 1,493.

"Our thoughts go to the people who have lost loved ones," Henry said.

The latest numbers were delivered along with a new public health order that gives officials the ability to close down businesses for 10 days or longer if there is transmission in the workplace resulting in at least three positive cases.

Officials said the new order was prompted by an increase in infections linked to transmission in work environments.

Henry reiterated again that much of the surge has also been linked to social gatherings, particularly in the 20-39 age group.

"Gatherings with different people in different places on different days are fuelling the spread of the virus that we're seeing," Henry said. "And these variants of concern are making that much more easy."

Data shared by health officials on Thursday indicates the P.1 variant associated with Brazil and the B.1.1.7 variant associated with the U.K. have caused a higher percentage of hospitalizations than other strains. Henry also revealed that people in their 20s account for 40 per cent of B.C.'s P.1 cases.

While the case numbers during B.C.'s third wave of the pandemic have been alarming, the government has also continued to ramp up its immunization program. Another 38,905 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered since Tuesday's update, which was also a record number for the province.

A total of 985,001 doses have been given out so far, including second doses.

There has been one new outbreak, at the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Center, while the outbreak at Ridge Meadows Hospital has been declared over. There are now 11 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, assisted living facilities and acute care facilities.