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

The new cases were among 600 cases found across British Columbia over the past 24 hours, bringing the provincial total to 137,223 cases since the pandemic began.

The eight new cases in the island region represents the first time the region’s daily case total has dipped into single digits in over two months. On March 8, eight new daily cases were recorded. It was the only other single-digit daily case count recorded in 2021.

The Island Health region has now recorded 4,876 cases and 39 deaths since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One more person in B.C. has died of COVID-19, health officials announced Wednesday, bringing the province’s pandemic death toll to 1,625.

There are currently 193 active cases in the Vancouver Island region, including 18 people in hospital and three more in critical care.

Island Health identified the locations of 144 active cases Wednesday, including 72 in the South Island, 50 in the Central Island and 22 in the North Island.

The province also released new COVID-19 mapping data Wednesday, revealing which Vancouver Island communities had the highest total number of COVID-19 cases last week, and the highest daily new-case average.

According to the data, communities in the Comox Valley had the highest daily case average between May 4 and May 10, although all Vancouver Island communities had relatively low averages of between 0.1 and five cases per 100,000 people. Greater Victoria is the only other island community mentioned by name in the new data on average cases released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Greater Victoria recorded the highest total cases on Vancouver Island between May 4 and May 10, with approximately one per cent to 2.9 per cent of total cases recorded in the province.

The data also shows the geographic distribution of vaccines on Vancouver Island.

The communities of North Saanich, Central Saanich, Saanich, the Gulf Islands, Oak Bay, Colwood and Metchosin recorded the highest number (more than 80 per cent) of people over 55 who had received a first dose as of May 10. All other island communities were in the 61 to 80 per cent range of first-dose vaccinations for the 55-plus age group.

The vaccination rate for those 18 and over was highest in the Gulf Islands with more than 80 per cent vaccinated, followed by Oak Bay, Sidney and the North Island with between 41 per cent and 80 per cent vaccinated.

Public health officials have now administered 2,277,318 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in B.C., including 115,295 secondary doses.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said Wednesday the province would withhold its remaining supply of AstraZeneca vaccines from pharmacies and use them to provide secondary doses only.

“Given the limited availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine supply, we are holding all remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for dose-two booster immunizations,” Dix and Henry said. “Existing pharmacy bookings will proceed, but no additional appointments will be accepted at this time.”