Indigenous

COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: What you need to know this week

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations and Inuit communities rose slightly after two months on a downward trend, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

166,084 vaccinations have administered in First Nations and Inuit communities

Elder Joan Peters, who got her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Musqueam First Nation on March 2 says 'Everyone should get it done, I'd say.' (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC )

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations and Inuit communities rose slightly in the last week after two months on a downward trend, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

There were 1,266 active cases in First Nations communities as of March 15, an increase of just over 40 cases from the week prior. As of March 11, there were six active cases in the Nunavik region of Quebec. As of March 16, there were two active cases in Arviat, Nunavut.

According to the federal department, the rate of reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities is currently 183 per cent higher than the rate for the general Canadian population.

New infections were reported primarily in Manitoba with 264 new cases on-reserve in the last week.

Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 23,294 cases in First Nations communities. A total of 258 people have died from the virus, with 10 of those deaths being reported in the last week. The total number of hospitalizations has risen to 1,047. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 21,770.

Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of March 15:

  • British Columbia: 2,543
  • Alberta: 6,820
  • Saskatchewan: 6,056
  • Manitoba: 5,821
  • Ontario: 1,471
  • Quebec: 573
  • Atlantic: 10

Vaccine distribution

As of March 12, a total of 166,084 doses have been administered in 538 First Nations, Inuit, and territorial communities. 

In Manitoba, the vaccination effort on First Nations is ramping up with 100,000 doses scheduled to be put in the arms of people living on reserve in the next 100 days.  

Meanwhile, the top doctor at British Columbia's First Nations Health Authority says she is "hopeful" all Indigenous adults in the province, including those who don't live on reserves, will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine in the second phase of the province's immunization program.

Read more about the vaccination clinics that took place in Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Calgary:


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 or lost a loved one to COVID-19. If you would like to share your story, please email us at indigenous@cbc.ca.

now