VICTORIA -- Health officials identified 89 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region over the weekend.

Across B.C., 1,785 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over the past three days. On Saturday, 556 cases were detected; on Sunday, 598 were recorded; and on Monday, 631 cases were added.

Over the same period, 16 people died of the virus. One historical death was included in this weekend's total, bringing the province's death toll to 1,437. No deaths were reported on Vancouver Island, where 28 people have died of COVID-19.

"As we continue to make our way through this last stage of the pandemic, we remember every day the families, and the care providers, and the communities who have lost loved ones during this challenging time," said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

The Island Health region has now reported 2,956 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

There are now 278 active cases in the Vancouver Island region, including 13 people in hospital, and three more receiving critical care.

Island Health has revealed the locations of 235 active cases Monday, most of which are in the Central Island region followed closely by the South Island. There are 110 in the Central Island, 102 in the South Island and 23 in the North Island.

Of B.C.'s new COVID-19 cases, 166 were confirmed to be variants of concern. The province has now reported 1,366 variant cases, 237 of which are currently active.

The vast majority of the variant cases are the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first discovered in the U.K. As of Monday, the province has recorded 1,240 B.1.1.7 variant cases.

Henry notes that this variant spreads more easily in indoor settings compared to the initial COVID-19 virus, and she is reminding British Columbians not to gather indoors.

"Gatherings of any kind inside remains a risk," Henry said.

B.C.'s top doctor added that cases are rising across the province, according to B.C.'s seven-day rolling average.

She cautioned that the province was beginning to see the onset of a third wave of COVID-19 cases.

"We've come down from our second wave and remained level for many weeks but now we are seeing a steady increase again," she said Monday.

Health officials say that most cases are coming from workplace or home settings. Henry urged British Columbians to only gather outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer.

Businesses are also being reminded to stick to their COVID-19 safety plans, even if employees have been vaccinated.

Henry noted Monday that transmission was particularly concerning in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

Meanwhile, British Columbians can expect to see guidelines for restarting outdoor religious services in the "next day or two," she said.

Health officials say that just over 10 per cent of B.C.'s population has now received a COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The province continues to work on a "two-pronged" immunization approach, where vaccine is administered based on age and to priority frontline workers.

"It is important to remember, putting out those hotspots in those areas where we are seeing outbreaks happen protects all of us and increases all of our protection," said Henry.

"It moves us all further along the queue."