COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: Over 5,000 active cases in First Nations

The number of active COVID-19 in First Nations communities continues to rise, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

$1.2B in additional funding announced by Indigenous Services Canada

A resident is vaccinated against COVID-19 at Wigwamen Terrace, an Indigenous retirement home in Toronto. (Nadya Kwandibens/Red Works Photography)

As the number of active COVID-19 cases in First Nations across the country continues to rise, Indigenous Services Canada is investing $1.2 billion in additional support to address ongoing public health responses in Indigenous communities.

As of Jan. 18, there are 5,442 active cases reported in First Nations, according to the latest data from the federal government.

"First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have worked diligently to prevent, respond and control the spread of the virus in their communities. We acknowledge their strength and resilience, and the hard work they continue to put into leading their communities to safety," said Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller in a Jan. 13 update.

"Through these investments, we will continue to support community-led solutions, and to ensure a strong and multi-faceted pandemic response."

An additional $380 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund was also announced, and $186.8 million over two years is being allocated to support needs and gaps in long-term care facilities.

Indigenous Services Canada said 10 out of 60 long-term care and personal care home on-reserve in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec have been affected by COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 13,636 cases on-reserve. Fourteen people have died from the virus since last week, bringing the toll to 117. The total number of hospitalizations rose to 565. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 8,077.

Total cases on First Nations reserves per region reported as of Jan. 18:

  • British Columbia: 1,322
  • Alberta: 4,396
  • Saskatchewan: 3,466
  • Manitoba: 3,569
  • Ontario: 412
  • Quebec: 463
  • Atlantic: 8

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