COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: Active cases in First Nations communities on the rise

The number of outbreaks of COVID-19 in First Nations communities has spiked, following a steady drop in the rate of active cases since January.

The rate of reported active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities is currently 1.9 times the respective rate in the general Canadian population.

As of Aug. 23, there were 609 active cases of the virus in First Nations across the country, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

The majority of new infections in First Nations reported this week were in Saskatchewan. First Nations in Alberta and British Columbia also experienced outbreaks of the virus.

The data from Indigenous Services Canada does not include outbreaks in the territories, but the N.W.T.’s Sahtu region has been grappling with spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 in its communities.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 34,175 cases in First Nations communities. A total of 389 First Nations people living on-reserve have died from the virus, with four deaths reported in the last week.

Total hospitalizations have risen to 1,631, and the number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 33,177.

Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of Aug. 23:

  • British Columbia: 3,375
  • Alberta: 9,269
  • Saskatchewan: 8,491
  • Manitoba: 9,242
  • Ontario: 2,971
  • Quebec: 802
  • Atlantic: 25

Vaccination rates

As of Aug. 17, a total of 731,313 vaccine doses have been administered to individuals aged 12 and older in 687 First Nations, Inuit, and territorial communities, as well as 318,933 second doses.


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.

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