VICTORIA -- Three people have died of COVID-19 in British Columbia since Tuesday, bringing the province's death toll from the virus to 186.

Health officials announced the deaths in a statement Wednesday, along with the discovery of 18 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

The new test-positive cases push B.C.'s total coronavirus count since the pandemic began to 3,008 cases.

All three deaths announced Wednesday were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

In a joint statement, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry warned that failing to adhere to public health guidelines around wearing masks and maintaining physical distance could cause infection rates to quickly spiral out of control.

"As we have seen in many other locations around the world, one slip can quickly cause a surge in new cases," the health officials wrote.

"This summer, we can travel within our province, we can enjoy many activities and we can spend time with friends and family. And we can do this safely by all of us doing our part to keep our curve flat.”

There remain 162 active cases of the virus in B.C., with 17 people in hospital, three of them in intensive care.

The province reported no new outbreaks of the virus at health-care centres Wednesday, though outbreaks at two long-term care homes and one acute-care home continue.

An outbreak at the Tabor Home care facility in Abbotsford has been declared over.

Most of British Columbia's coronavirus cases have been discovered in the Lower Mainland, including 1,018 in the Vancouver Coastal health region and 1,589 in the Fraser Health region.

In the Vancouver Island region, 133 cases have been found, while 203 cases have been diagnosed in the Interior and 65 cases in the province's north since the pandemic began.

"We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic," Dix and Henry said.

A total of 2,660 people in B.C. who have contracted the virus are now considered fully recovered.