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

As COVID-19 vaccinations increase across the country, the number of active cases is dropping in First Nations and Inuit communities, according to Indigenous Services Canada.

520,086 vaccine doses administered in First Nations and Inuit communities

Roberta Wagner, foreground, a health clinic administrator for the Blackfeet tribe, prepares COVID-19 vaccine doses to be administered to Canadian residents at the Piegan-Carway border crossing near Babb, Mont., in April. The Blackfeet tribe gave out surplus vaccines in April to its First Nations relatives and others from across the border. (Iris Samuels/The Associated Press)

Over 79 per cent of adults living in First Nations and Inuit communities have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Indigenous Services Canada. 

The federal government is set to give an update on the coronavirus situation in Indigenous communities at a news conference Wednesday morning.

As of June 4, a total of 520,086 vaccine doses have been administered in 687 First Nations and Inuit communities. The number includes 187,541 second doses, representing 43 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Active cases

The rate of reported active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations people living on-reserve is currently nearly twice the rate for the general Canadian population, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

As of June 7, there were 824 active cases of the virus in First Nations. The majority of new infections have been reported in Ontario, as well as on the Prairies.

As of June 8, there was one active case in Nunavut. 

Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 30,416 cases in First Nations communities. Five deaths were reported since last week, bringing the total number of First Nations people living on-reserve who have died from COVID-19 to 346 and total hospitalizations rose to 1,378. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 29,246. 

Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of June 7:

  • British Columbia: 3,112
  • Alberta: 8,567
  • Saskatchewan: 7,320
  • Manitoba: 8,292
  • Ontario: 2,362
  • Quebec: 741
  • Atlantic: 22

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.