First Nations COVID-19 new case numbers drop slightly this week

·2 min read

With the Christmas holidays on the horizon, there was some more positive news from the federal government

There are 879 new active cases currently ongoing in First Nations communities across Canada, down from 888 last week, while the death toll sadly climbed again this week.

Three more deaths were also added to the toll of lives lost to the virus and its complications. The death toll rose again to 559 lives lost to the virus since the pandemic began, up from last week’s 546.

The statistics remain a concern as the fourth wave takes hold in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, thanks to the fears surrounding the Omicron variant of the virus and the more-contagious Delta variant of the virus.

Indigenous Services Canada 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 cases per 100,000. Since then, it started to rise again and is currently 198.9 per 100,000 or twice the respective rate in the general Canadian population.

Alberta continued its disturbing trend as cases in that province continued to rise, climbing again to 14,386 new COVID-19 cases this week. Alberta was the first province in Canada to remove all COVID-19 restrictions from public life last summer.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan have also been hit hard, with Saskatchewan’s caseload climbing slightly again to 13,763 new cases. Manitoba also saw an increase in active cases of COVID-19 with 11,691, up again from last week.

Quebec boasts over 1,000 active cases in Indigenous communities, coming in at 1,287, up almost 100 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 are all paramount 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

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