VICTORIA - British Columbia recorded 18 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the province's total number of active cases to 310.

Health officials say in a statement that the new figures push the number of cases identified in the province to 2,507.

Among those, 2,042 have now recovered, or about four out of every five people.

Those with active cases of the virus are recovering at home in self-isolation, while 41 are hospitalized including eight in intensive care.

However, the death toll continues to rise and three more people have succumbed to the illness for a total of 155.

An outbreak at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver that has been ongoing for a month has been declared over and no new health-care outbreaks have been identified.

British Columbia recently entered a new phase of its pandemic response with several businesses resuming or preparing to restart operations.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say this phase is about moving slowly, with patience and care.

"We are finding our new balance between protecting our health and reopening many of the businesses and activities that are important to all of us," Dix and Henry say in the joint statement.

"Phase 2 of B.C.'s restart plan is about pausing before moving forward; being thoughtful and cautious to keep everyone safe, while COVID-19 remains in our communities."

Mass gatherings remain restricted to no more than 50 people and the order has been amended to apply to drive-in events.

No more than 50 vehicles are allowed at a drive-in and there's also a restriction on the sale of refreshments.

Anyone attending such events must stay in their cars unless they have to go to the washroom, which must be serviced with running water for proper hand hygiene, the statement says.

In a separate statement, Dix and Henry say they've received an "outstanding" response to an online survey about B.C.'s response to the pandemic, with 275,000 people participating.

They urged others take part in the survey.

"There are still many questions that we need to answer and understand, including the impacts of the measures that we have taken to control COVID-19 in B.C. and flatten the curve," they say.

The survey also gauges interest in participating in further studies, including a blood test to determine immunity from COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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