Manitoba

1st COVID-19 death involving First Nations person in Manitoba reported

A First Nations person has died of COVID-19 in Manitoba, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says — the first COVID-19-related death involving a First Nations person reported in the province since the start of the pandemic in March.

A person older than 70 died of the disease, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says

An electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The first COVID-19-related death involving a First Nations person in Manitoba has been reported. (NIAID-RML via The Associated Press)

A First Nations person has died of COVID-19 in Manitoba, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says — the first COVID-19-related death involving a First Nations person reported in the province since the start of the pandemic in March.

The person was older than 70, according to Leona Star, the director of research with the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba. 

No further information about the person, including whether or not they lived on a reserve or when they died, was released. 

"We've experienced our first loss because of COVID," AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said during a Facebook Live briefing on Friday.

"We know it was a matter of time. But it's among us, it's happening. I think it's hitting all of our communities, and we really need to be focused on it."

The assembly reported 105 new cases of COVID-19 among First Nations people in Manitoba on Friday, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 284. Last week, the AMC said there were 179 total cases among First Nations people. 

There are 243 active cases, the AMC said, including 85 people who live on-reserve and 158 off-reserve.

The fly-in community of Little Grand Rapids, about 270 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, has reported a COVID-19 outbreak that grew past 30 confirmed cases as of last weekend. The community remains at the red, or "critical," level on the province's pandemic response system.

Earlier this week, Dumas called on the federal government to set up a field hospital in the Little Grand Rapids area, but said there was no update on when or if that might happen.

He said isolation tents had been set up to help people in that community self-isolate.

As of Friday, the AMC said 2,115 COVID-19 tests had been administered to First Nations people in the last week.

"I'm reassured at the numbers," Dumas said. "The percentages of the tests that are being administered ... tells me that our people still have access to those tests. So that's reassuring." 

Eleven First Nations people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, according to the AMC. 

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