VICTORIA, B.C. – The Northern Health Region added 26 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, further dropping the active case count to 278.

Out of 24 people in hospital, eight are in critical care.

No COVID-19 related deaths were reported Wednesday, keeping the regional total at 132.

Since March 2020, 6,621 people have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 6,203 have fully recovered.

British Columbia recorded 1,168 new cases Wednesday, raising the active case count to 9,821.

There are 397 people in hospital, 120 of whom are in critical care.

There were six COVID-19 related deaths reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 1,521.

From last spring to today, 114,870 cases have been reported across the province. Of those, 103,360 have made a full recovery.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says variants of concern are taking over.

The U.K. variant, otherwise known as B.1.1.7 is the predominant strain circulating British Columbia.

“As more transmission happens, if there’s more virus transmitting it means it’s changing, it’s replicating more often, the opportunity for these mutations to occur goes up, and that’s why these variants arise where there’s lots of cases happening,” says Henry.