First Nations across Canada continue to struggle with the latest wave of the COVID-19 and the variants.
In Manitoba, more than 50 First Nations have at least one active case of COVID-19, and more than 20 First Nations have at least 10 cases. There are 63 First Nations in the province.
“We have significant amounts of Covid in the community right now. It is going to be endemic which means we’re going to have this virus circulating but what we’re focused on right now is still trying to support the health care system and protect the health care system so it’s available to deliver the necessary health care to First Nations citizens,” said Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead for the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team in a Jan. 13 update.
As of Jan. 13, there are currently 3,252 active COVID-19 cases among First Nations people in Manitoba, both on and off-reserve.
“We want to have kids be able to return to school and we want everybody to be able to access social supports and services but as safely as possible,” Anderson said.
The latest update from Indigenous Services Canada has 61,532 total cases of COVID-19 across the country since the pandemic began in March 2020 – 5,456 of those are active cases and 55,499 are recovered.
First Nations in British Columbia have seen a total of 6,871 cases since the pandemic began.
Alberta has been the hardest hit province with 15,485 cases overall, but Saskatchewan and Manitoba are rising quickly with a total of 14,102 and 14,266 cases respectively.
Rounding out the country’s numbers among First nations is Ontario with 5,993 total cases, Quebec with 3,840 cases and the Atlantic region with 975 cases.
Patty Hajdu, minister of Indigenous services said variants are hitting communities hard.
“Health systems and communities right across the country are strained and more infections means more people in isolation, often significantly threatening essential activities and services. And that’s why it’s so essential that we continue to do everything we can in our power to lessen the impact of illness and that we each do our part,” Hajdu said.
In Canada’s north, there are 1,875 active cases combined between the three territories. 473 active in the Yukon, 128 in Nunavut, and 1,274 in the Northwest Territories.