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

The new cases were among 250 cases found across British Columbia over the past 24 hours, bringing the province’s total to 142,886 cases since the pandemic began.

The Island Health region has now recorded 5,027 cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three more people in B.C. have died of COVID-19, health officials announced Wednesday, bringing the province’s pandemic death toll to 1,683.

None of the deaths announced Wednesday were in the Vancouver Island region, where the pandemic has killed 40 people.

There are currently 131 active cases of COVID-19 in the island region, including 11 people in hospital and three more in critical care.

Island Health identified the locations of 96 of the active cases Wednesday, including 28 in the South Island, 39 in the Central Island and 29 in the North Island.

“Our condolences are with the family, friends and caregivers of the people who have died as a result of COVID-19,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Public health officials have now administered 2,979,951 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in B.C., including 152,010 secondary doses.

Henry and Dix are urging all British Columbians to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as early as possible.

“As immunization is the foundation of our approach, it’s crucial to our success that we all get registered and vaccinated,” the health officials said.

“Equally important is that our approach be purposeful and measured when spending time with others – keeping our socializing to a small number of people, going outside as much as possible and taking extra precautions if our family and friends are higher risk,” Dix and Henry added.