By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
As November inexorably brings us closer to winter weather and winter conditions, the number of new COVID-19 cases dropped slightly last week, but cases in Alberta continue to climb with no end in sight in what appears to be a worrisome trend in the province, which walked back its COVID-19 health restrictions far earlier than any other province in Canada.
There are 1,086 new active cases currently ongoing in First Nations communities across Canada, down from 1,097 last week, while the death toll sadly climbed again this week.
Twelve more deaths were also added to the toll of lives lost to the virus and its complications. The death toll rose again to 528 lives lost to the virus since the pandemic began, up from last week’s 516
The statistics remain a concern as the fourth wave takes hold in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, across Canada, thanks to the more-contagious Delta variant of the virus.
Indigenous Services Canada reports `the rate of reported active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations people living on-reserve was going down since mid-January 2021 and reached its lowest point during the first week of August at 84.2 per 100,000 Since then, it started to rise again and is currently 269.5 per 100,000 or 4.3 times the respective rate in the general Canadian population.’
Alberta continued its disturbing trend as cases in that province reached and passed the 14,000-case threshold, reporting 14,069 new COVID-19 cases this week.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan have also been hit hard, with Saskatchewan seeing a slight decrease this week, dropping to 13,567, down from 13,968 active cases last week, Manitoba also saw a slight increase in active cases of COVID-19 with 10,885 up from 10,688.
Quebec boasts just over 1,000 active cases in Indigenous communities, coming in at 1,069, up almost 40 cases from last week.
With the cold weather moving in quickly, officials are encouraging those as-yet-unvaccinated individuals to get the vaccine and curb the continued spread of the virus. Hand-washing, social distancing and wearing masks are all paramount when social distance can’t be maintained.
The vaccine passport program is well underway in Quebec and in Kahnawake, with proof of vaccination required to enter movie theatres, festivals, bars, gyms and other non-essential services.
Fines of up to $6,000 are possible for non-compliant businesses in Quebec.
Marc Lalonde is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the IORI:WASE. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.