VICTORIA -- Provincial health officials identified 21 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Thursday.

The new cases were among 587 cases found across British Columbia over the past 24 hours, bringing the province’s total to 137,810 cases confirmed since the pandemic began.

The Island Health region has now recorded 4,897 cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five more people in B.C. have died of COVID-19, health officials announced Thursday, bringing the province’s pandemic death toll to 1,632. None of the deaths in the past day were recorded in the Vancouver Island region, where the pandemic has killed 39 people.

There are currently 192 active cases in the Vancouver Island region, including 16 people in hospital and four more in critical care.

Island Health identified the locations of 153 active cases Thursday, including 69 in the South Island, 57 in the Central Island and 27 in the North Island.

The province has also recorded its second case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), a serious blood-clotting condition linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“This person is a male in their 40s who is in stable condition now receiving care in the Fraser Health region,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday. “This is a rare but very serious condition and we are following it very carefully.”

Henry said anyone who has symptoms such as a persistent severe headache, shortness of breath, chest and abdominal pains, swelling or redness in their limbs within four to 28 days after receiving any vaccine should contact 811 or their doctor.

“There is a test for it and there is treatment,” Henry said.

Henry said those British Columbians who received AstraZeneca as their first vaccine “did make the right choice,” but said she expects they will be allowed to choose another vaccine for their second dose. 

Public health officials have now administered 2,335,513 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in B.C., including 119,691 secondary doses.

“Our immunization program is moving quickly as more and more vaccines are available and the ages for those eligible are coming down,” Henry said. “We anticipate that all adults will be eligible very soon.” 

This weekend, vaccination bookings will open for everyone in British Columbia aged 18 to 25.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said vaccine bookings will open at 7 p.m. Friday to those born in 1996 or earlier. On Saturday at 7 p.m., bookings will open to those born in 2001 or earlier. Bookings will open Sunday to those born in 2003 or earlier.

“The key to booking is to register,” Dix said.  

Henry urged British Columbians not to make plans to increase social activities before the May long weekend.

Reopening the province will happen gradually over the summer, with small gatherings potentially allowed by the July long weekend “if things continue to go in the right direction,” Henry said.

“If we move too quickly, the virus can take hold again even when we have the immunization to protect us,” Henry added.