VICTORIA -- Nearly 500 new cases of COVID-19 were discovered in B.C. over the weekend, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday.

A total of 172 cases were discovered between Friday and Saturday, 153 were confirmed between Saturday and Sunday and 174 were found between Sunday and Monday.

The update brought B.C.’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 11,687 since the pandemic began. Of those cases, 1,639 are considered active, including 67 people who were in hospital for treatment, 19 of whom required critical care.

Two more people died of the virus over the weekend, said Henry, bringing the province’s death toll to 253.

One victim lived in the Fraser Health region, and the other lived in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

“Our condolences go out to our families and the care provides and our communities,” said Henry.

Four new health-care outbreaks were detected over the weekend, all of which were at long-term or assisted living facilities. At the same time, two health-care outbreaks at care homes were declared over, bringing the province’s total health-care outbreak count to 19.

Seventeen of the outbreaks are at long-term care or assisted living facilities, while two are at acute care units.

Meanwhile, one new community outbreak has been announced at the J&L Beef meat processing facility in the Fraser Health region. Henry says that health teams are on site and performing contact tracing.

With nearly 500 new cases of COVID-19 detected over the weekend, Henry says that B.C. is in the midst of its second wave of COVID-19.

“One can say that we are on in our second wave here in B.C., but we are in control of what this second wave looks like,” she said.

B.C.’s top doctor says that cases and hospitalization numbers have risen over the past several weeks, but have stabilized to manageable numbers.

“Encouragingly, we in B.C. are not seeing exponential growth,” she said. “We do have more people in hospital than we did a couple weeks ago, but that has also stabilized.”

However, Henry cautioned that British Columbians must continue to follow public health measures – such as regular handwashing, keeping social circles small and wearing masks when in close contact with others – to avoid a surge in COVID-19 cases, which could overwhelm the health-care system.

“We need, however, to make sure that we are doing what we can to avoid a steep and sudden increase in cases that we have seen in other parts of Canada, in neighbouring countries, and across the world.”

Most COVID-19 cases continue to be found in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, with 4,146 discovered in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 6,244 confirmed in the Fraser Health region.

Three new cases were found in the Island Health region over the weekend, bringing the health authority’s total number of cases to 243 since the start of the pandemic.

Elsewhere in the province, 611 cases have been found in the Interior Health region and 355 have been confirmed in the Northern Health region. A total of 88 people who live outside of Canada have tested positive for the virus in B.C.

Over the weekend, 366 more people recovered from COVID-19, bringing the province’s total number of recoveries to 9,753, said Henry.