VICTORIA -- Five new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Island Health region, health officials announced Wednesday.

There are now 81 active cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, including seven people who are in hospital for treatment as well as four people who require critical care.

Of the island’s active cases, 26 are located in the South Island, 36 are found in the Central Island and 19 are currently active in the North Island.  

Across the province, 640 new cases of the virus were discovered over the past 24 hours, as well as 24 more deaths related to COVID-19.

B.C.’s death toll has now reached 692 since the pandemic began.

“We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, 9,950 cases of COVID-19 are considered active in B.C.

Wednesday’s update comes one day after B.C.’s first 409 COVID-19 vaccines were given to frontline health-care workers in the Lower Mainland.

Island Health expects to receive its first shipment of vaccinations by next week.

“Starting next week, the province will receive weekly vaccine deliveries for clinics in every health region throughout the province,” said Dix and Henry. 

Since the pandemic began, the Island Health region has seen a total of 799 confirmed cases of COVID-19.