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

Over 65 per cent of people age 12 and up in First Nations and Inuit communities are now fully vaccinated, the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada says.

Over 65% of eligible First Nations and Inuit in communities now fully vaccinated

Health-care workers administer the COVID-19 vaccines to members of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, B.C., on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

First Nations and Inuit communities are experiencing an increase in outbreaks of COVID-19 as the fourth wave of COVID-19 hits many parts of Canada.

As of Aug. 16, there were 397 active cases of the virus in First Nations across the country. The majority of new infections were reported in Saskatchewan. First Nations in Manitoba and Quebec also experienced outbreaks of the virus.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 33,683 cases in First Nations communities. A total of 385 First Nations people living on-reserve have died from the virus, with four deaths reported in the last two weeks.

Hospitalization climbed to 1,615, and the number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 33,683.

Pandemic stories:

Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of Aug. 16:

  • British Columbia: 3,270.
  • Alberta: 9,097.
  • Saskatchewan: 8,307.
  • Manitoba: 9,224.
  • Ontario: 2,958.
  • Quebec: 802.
  • Atlantic: 25.

Vaccination rates

Over 65 per cent of people age 12 and up in First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities are now fully vaccinated, the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada says.

As of Aug. 12, over 86 per cent of that population had received at least one dose, and 65 per cent had received a second dose. The percentage represents 719,097 vaccine doses administered to individuals age 12 and older in 687 First Nations and Inuit communities, as well as 309,485 second doses.

The national average for first doses is 81 per cent, five percentage points lower than in First Nations communities, and for second doses it's 71 per cent, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

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 might have COVID-19, please consult your local health department to book an appointment at a screening clinic.