COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: outbreaks continue on the Prairies

The number of new and active COVID-19 cases on First Nations reserves across Canada continues to climb, according to data from Indigenous Services Canada.

6 deaths were reported on-reserve in the last week

A Canadian Armed Forces multi-purpose medical assistance team went to Opaskwayak Cree Nation Nov. 21 to assist staff at a care home experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. (Submitted by Department of National Defence)

The number of new and active cases of COVID-19 continue to rise on First Nations reserves with 1,562 active cases according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

The federal department reported 765 new cases in the last week, with outbreaks occurring primarily in the Prairies.

In Manitoba, COVID-19 test positivity rate among First Nations people is over 20 per cent according to the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team. An outbreak at the Rod McGillivary Memorial Care Home in Opaskwayak Cree Nation, where the military was brought in after every resident tested positive for COVID-19, is now over. One resident died, and 27 others have fully recovered.

As of Nov. 30, there have been a total of 3,989 cases on-reserve since the pandemic started. The death toll rose from 28 to 34 over the course of the week, and 19 additional hospitalizations were reported bringing the total to 162. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease reached 2,385.

In Nunavut, there are a total of 181 cases, with 108 active, down from 131 on Saturday. 

Total cases on First Nations reserves per region reported as of Nov. 30:

  • British Columbia: 307
  • Alberta: 1,235
  • Saskatchewan: 1,106
  • Manitoba: 994
  • Ontario: 193
  • Quebec: 146

Pandemic stories

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
  • chills
  • fatigue or weakness
  • muscle or body aches
  • new loss of smell or taste
  • headache
  • 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