COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: 'alarming rise' in new and active cases
Rise of new COVID-19 cases linked to private gatherings, says Indigenous Services Canada
Indigenous communities have been facing an "alarming rise in the number of new and active COVID-19 cases," says Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).
In an update news release Oct. 2, ISC said the rise in new and active COVID-19 cases has been linked to private gatherings, as well as exposure to positive cases from outside of communities. The department reiterated the importance of limiting non-essential trips and maintaining physical distancing from others.
Two First Nations people living on-reserve died of COVID-19 in the last week, bringing the death toll to 13, according to data from the federal department.
In the last week, 49 new cases have been reported on-reserve. New cases continue to climb in Manitoba after an outbreak in Little Grand Rapids First Nation affecting 19 community members. Five new cases were also reported in Six Nations of the Grand River, in southern Ontario. Kahnawake's COVID-19 task force announced it had five active cases in the Mohawk community south of Montreal as well.
There are a total of 95 active cases in First Nations across the country as of Oct. 5. There have been a total of 722 cases on-reserve since the pandemic started. Six additional hospitalizations were reported since last week bringing the total to 60. A total of 614 First Nations people have recovered from the disease.
A total of 21 confirmed positive cases have also been reported in the Nunavik region of Quebec as of Oct. 1, and all but three have recovered.
Total cases on First Nations reserves per region reported as of Oct. 5:
- British Columbia: 161
- Alberta: 298
- Saskatchewan: 99
- Manitoba: 31
- Ontario: 80
- Quebec: 53
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Nineteen people have tested positive for COVID-19 on Little Grand Rapids First Nation in Manitoba after attending events at the local recreation centre between Sept. 24 and 27. As an effort to prevent the virus from spreading to family members living in close quarters on the remote northern Manitoba First Nation, the majority of those who tested positive are self-isolating in Winnipeg hotel rooms.
A team of Yukoners published a letter in the prestigious academic journal Science, arguing that Indigenous principles and knowledge should inform a global strategy for recovering from the pandemic.
Rapid COVID-19 testing is making a difference in Sandy Lake First Nation, a remote community about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., according to the community's chief. Four First Nations in the region have GeneXpert machines in place, with more on the way, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Ohsweken Public Health reported five new cases of COVID-19 in Six Nations of the Grand River. They are the first new cases in the community since Aug. 10 and bring the total number of cases there since the beginning of the pandemic to 21.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- temperature equal to or over 38°C
- feeling feverish
- fatigue or weakness
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of smell or taste
- gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
- feeling very unwell
If you think you may have COVID-19, please consult your local health department to book an appointment at a screening clinic.
CBC Indigenous is looking to hear from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit who have contracted COVID-19. If you would like to share your experience, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.