Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller responds to a question during a news conference, Thursday, October 8, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller responds to a question during a news conference, Thursday, October 8, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

No doubt second wave of COVID-19 will hit Indigenous communities harder: Miller

A First Nation in northern Saskatchewan went into lockdown and closed its schools due to COVID

Canada’s top doctor says the second wave of COVID-19 has surfaced as a series of regional epidemics and the federal government is warning about rising case numbers on First Nations.

“Given what we have seen in the last two weeks, there is little doubt the second wave of COVID-19 will hit Indigenous communities harder,” Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said Thursday in Ottawa.

Miller explained that during the first months of the pandemic, infection rates on reserves were relatively low compared to the general public. But in the past six weeks, there have been outbreaks in Indigenous communities across the country.

There are currently 123 active cases of COVID-19 on reserves — the majority in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

A First Nation in northern Saskatchewan went into lockdown and closed its schools Thursday over concerns of COVID-19 transmission following a series of religious services where participants were unmasked.

And earlier this week, a First Nation in Manitoba took similar action after 19 people in the small, remote community tested positive.

Regional epidemics across the country will require a tailored response, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

It will also require every person to stay vigilant and ready to adapt to changes, she said.

There has been an average of 2,052 new cases daily over the past week. On Thursday, Ontario reported 797 new cases — the most it has had in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said 57 per cent of those new infections were people under the age of 40.

Quebec’s surging numbers also continued Thursday with 1,078 new cases. There were nine more deaths and hospitalizations increased by 16.

Premier Francois Legault said his government was right to recently impose strict measures in the hot spots of Montreal and Quebec City. New restrictions on gyms and sports teams and mandatory masks in classrooms for high school students came into effect Thursday.

In addition, several regions between the two cities were moved to the highest COVID-19 alert level. Police checkpoints will be placed on some roads to discourage non-essential travel.

READ MORE: First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

Health officials said earlier this week that positive cases among seniors in Quebec were increasing again. Quebec and Ontario have also seen more people needing hospitalization.

Tam said in a statement that if the rate of hospitalizations continues to climb, it could put strains on health system capacity.

Regions of the country that saw a low rate of infectionsearlier this year have seen a swell of positive cases in recent weeks. British Columbia and Manitoba are seeing new daily infections higher than in the spring.

New Brunswick went months with very few cases of COVID-19 as part of the Atlantic bubble. But a recent outbreak at a care home and increase in positive cases prompted the province to make masks mandatory in most indoor public places. Non-essential day trips that had been allowed for residents of two Quebec border communities have been banned.

“Based upon what we are seeing in our neighbouring provinces and the outbreak in Moncton, we know how quickly the virus can spread through a community,” Premier Blaine Higgs said in a news release.

“We must take every possible measure to prevent that from happening in our province.”

Leaders and health officials across the country have urged people to stay home over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

“Make careful choices,” Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said after announcing 67 new cases.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The intersection at 10th Avenue and Dunbar Street. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Safety improvements planned for Port Alberni intersection

10th Avenue and Dunbar Street is an “intersection of concern” based on incident data

Members of Huu-ay-aht First Nations conducted two checkpoints on Monday, May 10, asking people who enter the territory to respect the sacred principles and to act accordingly while on Huu-ay-aht land. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Huu-ay-aht First Nations set up checkpoints in territory

Access restrictions come after forestry incidents

Bulldogs forward Brandon Buhr is knocked off the puck by Grizzlies defenceman Lindsay Reid. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs beaten back-to-back by Victoria Grizzlies

Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions while Bulldogs take second place

In 1903, if you were looking north down First Avenue with Alberni in the distance, this is what you would have seen. Scattered houses along River Road are visible, as is the corner of Watson Block building in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph. This photo is part of the 24,000 online collection of the Alberni Valley Museum. View this one and more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN02975 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Historic street scenes of Port Alberni

Take a peek back in time with the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives

This photo shows Franklin River Camp "B" circa 1940. Logging was started in the Franklin River area by Bloedel, Stewart & Welch in 1934. This is one of 42 photos of the Franklin River area, donated together in an album put together by the donor's husband, Stanley Young. Young worked as a highrigger in the Franklin River area from 1939-46. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN10830 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Logging along Franklin River

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read