As summer turns into fall, new cases of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities continue to rise despite high vaccination rates, statistics published this week by Indigenous Services Canada indicate.
There are 1,818 active cases currently ongoing in First Nations communities across Canada, up from 1,681 last week.
The statistics continue to paint a grim picture as the fourth wave takes hold in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, as the numbers continue to climb, helped by the more-contagious Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.
ISC reports ‘the rate of reported active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations people was going down since mid-January 2021 and reached its lowest point during the first week of August at 84.2 per 100,000. Since then, it started to rise again and is currently 372.1 per 100,000 or 3.3 times the respective rate in the general Canadian population.
Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have all been hit hardest, with more than 10,000 active cases in First Nations communities in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Manitoba is not far behind with 9,425 cases.
In addition, the death toll rose again to 408 lives lost to the virus and its complications, up seven from last week’s 404
The vaccine passport program is well underway in Quebec and in Kahnawake, with proof of vaccination required to enter movie theatres, festivals, bars, gyms and other non-essential services. Fines of up to $6,000 are possible for non-compliant businesses in Quebec.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase