Nearly a third of First Nations in Manitoba have reported COVID-19 cases, pandemic response team says

Almost a third of all Manitoba First Nations have had cases of COVID-19, officials working with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said Friday, including 15 communities that currently have active cases.

Twenty of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba have reported cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Dr. Marcia Anderson said during a Facebook Live news conference Friday. Most of the cases in First Nations communities have been identified in the past two months, she said.

Anderson works with the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team, which partners with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to gather COVID-19 data about First Nations.

Since the group’s last update on Tuesday, an additional 110 cases have been confirmed among First Nations people in the province, she said.

There have now been a total of 449 cases among First Nations people on- and off-reserve in Manitoba, Anderson said. Of those, 332 of those cases are considered active: 101 involving people who live on-reserve, and 231 cases in people who live off-reserve.

Anderson also announced the death of a second First Nations person in Manitoba who had COVID-19. The individual was over 70 and was a resident of the Interlake-Eastern health region, she said, although she didn’t specify when the person died, or whether the individual lived on- or off-reserve.

The first COVID-19-related death in Manitoba involving a First Nations person was announced last week.

Nine First Nations people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Manitoba, Anderson said, including two in intensive care.

First Nations people account for roughly 12 per cent of all cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba as of Thursday, Anderson said. That number was calculated prior to new provincial numbers that were released Friday afternoon, after the AMC news conference had started.

“If you think about the fact that we make up about 10 per cent of the province, we’ve now passed that point and are overrepresented,” Anderson said Friday.

Manitoba announced 163 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the province’s second-highest daily tally since the pandemic began. The province also announced a 48th COVID-19 death: a man in his 80s linked to Winnipeg’s Parkview Place personal care home.

A total of 1,237 First Nations people have been tested for COVID-19 since the AMC’s last update, Anderson said Friday. The test positivity rate among First Nations people is currently 6.35 per cent, compared to 6.5 per cent province-wide.