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 Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged in Coquihalla crash showed ‘wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives’: Crown

Despite already having brake issues, Roy McCormack tackled the steepest hill on the infamous highway

Abbotsford International Airport. Black Press file photo.
Abbotsford Airport had 4th highest traffic in Canada in 2020, and its number are down

Statistics Canada report describes a ‘devastating year’ for air travel

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Chilliwack’s Ryan Wugalter with his kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon. Wugalter recently released his children’s album Super Giraffe. (Submitted)
Chilliwack father releases children’s album, songs about superhero giraffe and not eating magnets

Inspiration for Ryan Wugalter’s new album ‘Super Giraffe’ came from his two young kids

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

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

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Most Read