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 Sicamous Fire Department was able to use their ladder truck to rescue a cat which had been stuck in a tree. (Chelsea Bowman-Facebook)
Sicamous firefighters rescue cat from tree

Rescue also an opportunity to train with ladder truck

Ahead of the provincial election on Oct. 24, Enderby residents put their questions to the Shuswap riding’s three candidates: Greg Kyllo for the BC Liberal Party, Sylvia Lindgren for the BC NDP and Owen Madden for the BC Green Party. The candidates recorded their answers in videos distributed by the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce. (Salmon Arm Observer image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Shuswap candidates answer Enderby’s top election questions

The candidates submitted video responses for an all-candidates forum ahead of the Oct. 24 election

Shuswap BC NDP candidate Sylvia Lindgren reports several campaign signs have recently been damaged or removed. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap BC NDP candidate says campaign signs stolen and damaged

Sylvia Lindgren says with pandemic, signs are more important to candidates this election

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

From left, city workers Hugh Bennett, Chris Carr and Teneal Crossman secure the fountain they’ve just removed from McGuire Lake on Oct. 21, 2020 before the ice moves in. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm fountain disappears along with summer

No more fountain in McGuire Lake as winter preparations begin

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Princeton man on motor scooter refuses to provide breath test to police

The scooter did not have a license plate and was not insured

The Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP located a hidden compartment in a vehicle, leading to a significant drug seizure, police said in a media release Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (RCMP photo)
Vernon RCMP find illicit drugs in hidden vehicle compartment

Police seized 4 kg of methamphetamine from a Jeep involved in a violent hit and run March 24

Most Read