VICTORIA -- B.C. health officials have announced 234 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the province’s total to 14,109 since the pandemic began.

One more person also died of the virus over the past 24 hours, bringing the province’s death toll to 262.

The victim was a person in their 80s who attended a small birthday party, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

She said that, tragically, one person unwittingly brought the virus to the gathering, which was less than 10 people in size, and spread it to most of the attendees.

B.C.’s top doctor offered her condolences to the family of the victim and hopes that the incident serves as a reminder that COVID-19 can be dangerous even in small gathering settings.

Roughly 2,344 cases of COVID-19 are currently considered active, including 86 people who are in hospital for treatment, 24 of whom require critical care.

Most COVID-19 cases have been found in the province’s Lower Mainland, with 4,588 discovered in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 8,036 found in the Fraser Health region.

Henry says that the Fraser Valley has been “disproportionally” affected by COVID-19 in recent weeks and asks that everyone, particularly those who live in the Lower Mainland, to refrain from meeting with anyone who isn’t in their safe six social circle.

Health Minister Adrian Dix – who joined Henry alongside Fraser Health’s president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee Thursday – noted that while many recent cases have appeared in the Fraser Health Region, proportionally, there are currently more hospitalizations due to the virus in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

He said that everyone must be on guard amid the COVID-19 pandemic regardless of where they live. Henry added that health officials are grateful that the majority of B.C. residents are following provincial health guidelines, like keeping social circles small and consistent, wearing a mask while in indoor public spaces and staying home if feeling unwell.

“No place in B.C. goes it alone in COVID-19,” said Dix.

Four new health-care outbreaks were announced Thursday. Henry noted that three of the four outbreaks involve just a single health-care worker who was identified as having the virus early on.

Meanwhile, one health-care outbreak at a long-term care home was declared over, leaving 25 active outbreaks in the health-care system. One of the outbreaks is at an acute care unit while 24 are located in long-term care or assisted-living facilities.

The Interior Health region has reported 734 cases of COVID-19 while the Northern Health region has confirmed 406.

Elsewhere in the province, the Island Health region has reported 256 COVID-19 cases, an increase of three since Wednesday.

Eighty-nine people who normally live outside of Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials say that 5,714 are under active public health monitoring due to exposure to the virus.

Since the pandemic began, 11,448 have recovered from COVID-19 in B.C.