As winter approaches, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be on the wane in First Nations communities in Canada as the number of new cases dropped again this week in most of the First Nations from coast to coast to coast, but cases in Alberta and Saskatchewan continue to climb with no end in sight.
There are 1,268 new active cases currently ongoing in First Nations communities across Canada, down from 1,618 last week, while the death toll climbed precipitously this week.
Seventeen more deaths were also added to the toll of lives lost to the virus and its complications. The death toll rose again to 508 lives lost to the virus since the pandemic began, up from last week’s 491.
The statistics remain a concern as the fourth wave takes hold in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, across Canada, thanks to the more-contagious Delta variant of the virus.
ISC reports ‘the rate of reported active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations people living on-reserve 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 365.9 per 100,000 or 5.4 times the respective rate in the general Canadian population.’
Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have all been hit hardest, with Alberta and Saskatchewan Wover the 13,000-case barrier with 13,855 active COVID-19 cases, while Saskatchewan is close on their heels with 13,491 active cases. Manitoba also saw an increase in active cases of COVID-19 with 10,564.
Quebec boasts just over 1,000 active cases in Indigenous communities, coming in at 1,035, up six cases from last week.
With the cold weather moving in quickly, officials are encouraging those as-yet-unvaccinated individuals to get the vaccine and curb the continued spread of the virus. Hand-washing, social distancing and wearing masks when social distance can’t be maintained.
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