By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
As spring continues to have sprung, cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities across Canada took a very slight drop this week, Indigenous Services Canada reported.
The number of new, active cases of the novel coronavirus dropped slightly this week as the temperatures become warmer and the outdoors becomes more popular for gatherings. The number of new, active cases landed at 2,768, down slightly from 2,851 last week.
In addition, ISC reported one new death, bringing the death toll to 697 since the pandemic was declared 26 months ago.
ISC 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 cases per 100,000. With the arrival of omicron variant late last year, the rate had increased to its highest level at 1,596.7 per 100,000 during the second week of January. Since then, the rate of reported active cases has gone down, plateaued and has started to increase again and is currently 572.8 per 100,000 or 1.3 times the respective rate in the general Canadian population.
The rising number of cases are a concern in many provinces.
Manitoba leads the way with 24,244 cases in Indigenous communities, while Alberta (19,741), Ontario (16,774) and Saskatchewan (16,084) fall in behind those provinces. Quebec reports 11,694 cases, while British Columbia (8,605) and the Atlantic provinces (4,107) bring up the rear.
ISC stats show 31,004 reported positive cases in **>First Nations<** communities recorded since the pandemic began 26 months ago, with
3,148 cases of the alpha variant, 16 beta cases, 165 gamma cases,
8,336 delta-variant cases, 16,953 omicron cases and 2,386 indeterminate-variant cases. 10,826 omicron cases are in First Nations communities in eastern Canada and 6,127 cases are in First Nations communities in western Canada.
There is some good news, however.
The COVID-19 case fatality rate among First Nations people living on a reserve is 66 percent, or two-thirds of the case fatality rate in the general Canadian population, and roughly 96 percent of First Nations people living on a reserve who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
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.