42 new cases of COVID-19 reported among First Nations people in Manitoba

The number of First Nations people in Manitoba with COVID-19 spiked by another 42 on Monday, as the epidemiological curve continues to show “an ongoing, concerning trend.”

That’s the message sent out Tuesday by the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team, which said people between the ages of 20-29 are now showing up with the most cases.  

The latest cases bring the total number involving First Nations people in Manitoba since the start of the pandemic to 339 (127 on reserve, 212 off reserve). Of those, 290 remain as active cases (90 on reserve, 200 off reserve).

Eight of those people are in hospital, including one in intensive care, and the five-day test positivity rate among First Nations people is 3.05 per cent. As of Monday, a total of 24,555 First Nations people in Manitoba have had COVID-19 tests.

Details of the 339 First Nations cases: 

  • 177 in Winnipeg health region.
  • 109 in the Interlake Eastern health region.
  • 14 in the Southern Health region.
  • 5 in the Prairie Mountain health region.
  • 31 in the Northern Health region.

There are three cases where the region has yet to be determined.

There has been one COVID-19-related death involving a First Nations person. The death, announced Friday, involved a person older than 70. No other information has been released.

“First Nations people are most likely to be infected through close contact to a known case of COVID-19,” says the news release from the Pandemic Response Coordination Team, which was initiated by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, along with other First Nations leadership, to focus on the COVID-19 response.

The rate of acquisition of the virus through contact with a known positive case is 72 per cent for First Nations people, compared to 67 per cent for other Manitobans, the response team says.

“Our families and connections across communities are a strength in many respects, but when it comes to COVID-19 the mobility and these connections can be a risk for spread,” the release states.

“We are seeing a large cluster of cases with connections across communities related to travelling and visiting family, among other things. We strongly encourage limiting close contacts outside of the home for First Nations people who live in the Winnipeg area, or in any communities where COVID-19 cases are currently present.”

First Nations who don’t live in Winnipeg often travel to the city for visiting, shopping, and entertainment. But with cases soaring in the city — including 88 new cases reported Winnipeg on Tuesday — the Pandemic Response Coordination Team is urging First Nations people to cancel all non-essential travel to the area. 

“In order to respond to our current situation, we need to be much more careful about the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in Winnipeg, and then the potential of bringing it back to our communities when we return,” the news release says.

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