By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The number of new, active cases of the novel coronavirus in First Nations communities across Canada dropped this week, after two consecutive weeks of slightly-worrisome increases, federal Indigenous Services Canada officials reported.
The number of new, active cases of C0VID-19 virus in First Nations communities dropped to 499 this week, down roughly 33 percent from last week’s 732.
Four more lives were lost to the virus and its complications in Indigenous communities, bringing the total to 736 deaths since the pandemic hit more than 27 months ago.
After two weeks of consecutive increases in new, active cases of COVID-19, cases dropped back down again considerably this week, despite the relaxation of most sanitary measures, including the removal of the mask mandate on public transit in Quebec last weekend.
The highly contagious B.A.2. subvariant of the novel coronavirus has been circulating widely, officials said, thereby swelling case numbers the last two weeks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Indigenous Services Canada reports 33,785 COVID-19 confirmed cases due to variants of concern in First Nations communities. Of those, 3,148 (alpha), 16 (beta), 165 (gamma) 8,339 (delta) 2,422 (indeterminate with variant of concern traits) and 19,695 omicron cases.
From a statistical standpoint, ISC said the rate of reported active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations people living in First Nations communities 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 the Omicron variant, the rate had increased to its highest level at 1,596.7 per 100,000 during the second week of January 2022. Since then, the rate of reported active cases has gone down, plateaued, increased and has decreased again to its current level of 130.5 per 100,000.
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.