In a piece of positive news surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, numbers of new cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities in Canada dropped this week in most of the First Nations from coast to coast to coast, but cases in Alberta continue to climb with no end in sight.
There are 1,753 active cases currently ongoing in First Nations communities across Canada, down from 1,889 last week, while the death toll climbed precipitously this week,
Eighteen more deaths were also added to the toll of lives lost to the virus and its complications. The death toll rose again to 469 lives lost to the virus since the pandemic began, up from last week’s 451.
The statistics continue to paint a grim picture as the fourth wave takes hold in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, across Canada, thanks to the more-contagious and more-easily-transmitted Delta variant of the virus.
ISC reports ‘the rate of reported active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations people living on-reserve was going down since mid-January 2021 and reached its lowest point during the first week of August at 84.2 per 100,000. Since then, it started to rise again and is currently 417.5 per 100,000 or 4.2 times the respective rate in the general Canadian population.’
Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have all been hit hardest, with Alberta climbing over the 13,000-case barrier with 13,182 active COVID-19 cases, while Saskatchewan is close on their heels with 12,733 active cases. Manitoba climbed over the 10,000-new-case mark with 10,091 active cases of COVID-19.
Quebec boasts just over 1,000 active cases in Indigenous communities, coming in at 1,028.
With the cold weather moving in quickly, officials are encouraging those as-yet-unvaccinated individuals to get the vaccine and curb the continued spread of the virus. Hand-washing, social distancing and wearing masks when social distance can’t be maintained.
The vaccine passport program is well underway in Quebec and in Kahnawake, with proof of vaccination required to enter movie theatres, festivals, bars, gyms and other non-essential services. Fines of up to $6,000 are possible for non-compliant businesses in Quebec.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase