COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: 2,477 active cases on-reserve

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Over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on First Nations reserves over the last week, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

The federal department reported 2,477 active cases, with 1,218 new cases since last week. Communities in the Prairies continue to grapple with the virus, with cases soaring in Manitoba.

Dozens of soldiers are on the ground in Shamattawa, a remote fly-in First Nation 745 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, as it battles as an outbreak. It’s the province’s hardest-hit community, with recent test positivity rates hovering between 70 and 80 per cent.

Members of the military have also arrived in Red Sucker Lake First Nation in Manitoba to assess a coronavirus outbreak.

As of Dec. 14, there have been a total of 6,289 cases on-reserve since the pandemic started. Seven people died from the virus this week, bringing the death toll to 52, and the total number of hospitalizations rose to 256. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease reached 3,760.

There have been 30 cases of COVID-19 in the Nunavik region of Quebec as of Dec. 11, with one active case.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nunavut is 256, with nine new cases reported in Arviat on Monday and two new cases reported in the community on Saturday and 16 on Friday. The total recovered cases is 207 and there are 49 active, all of which are in Arviat.

In a Dec. 11 update, Indigenous Services Canada said it is working closely with Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners to support an integrated and co-ordinated approach to support the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine for Indigenous communities.

Total cases on First Nations reserves per region reported as of Dec. 14:

  • British Columbia: 497
  • Alberta: 1,722
  • Saskatchewan: 1,693
  • Manitoba: 2,008
  • Ontario: 205
  • Quebec: 162
  • Atlantic: 2

Pandemic stories


What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

  • new or worsening cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • temperature equal to or over 38°C
  • feeling feverish
  • chills
  • fatigue or weakness
  • muscle or body aches
  • new loss of smell or taste
  • headache
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
  • feeling very unwell

If you think you may have COVID-19, please consult your local health department to book an appointment at a screening clinic. 


CBC Indigenous is looking to hear from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit who have contracted COVID-19. If you would like to share your experience, please email us at indigenous@cbc.ca.



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