Federal COVID 19 case numbers on the rise again

By Marc Lalonde

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise again in First Nations communities and health officials are advising an abundance of caution as the cold months beckon.

New, active cases of COVID-19 climbed to 437, Indigenous Services Canada reported, from 218 last month, nearly double what officials were dealing with in late summer.

ISC reported the death toll stands at 767 lives lost to the virus, up seven from last month’s total.

In addition, the number of hospitalizations remained steady, climbing slightly from 3,531 last month to 3,559.

ISC reminded the public that they can protect themselves and others and further reduce the spread of COVID-19 is by staying home when they are sick; practising proper respiratory etiquette (e.g., covering your coughs and sneezes); improving ventilation and masking up in crowded indoor spaces. Frequent hand-washing or use of hand sanitizer, physical distancing from others when you can and using rapid tests when you have been exposed or have symptoms are also encouraged.

ISC officials also encouraged those who haven’t yet, to get their vaccine protection updated.

“Protection from COVID-19 vaccination decreases over time. A booster dose increases the immune response and helps improve protection against severe outcomes. These are available through your local healthcare providers,” ISC said in a statement

If it has been six months since your last dose or since being infected with COVID-19, it is time to get another booster dose. This is especially important if you are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

In some provinces and territories, the public may be offered a booster as soon as three months based on local epidemiology and circumstances.

First Nations communities reported 13 newly reported hospitalizations representing a 24 percent decrease from September 2022

The COVID-19 case fatality rate among First Nations people living on a reserve is 61 percent of the case fatality rate in the general Canadian population, and nearly 99 percent of First Nations people living on a reserve who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.

Of the variants detected in the case numbers, the Omicron variant is by far the most prevalent.

14,052 omicron cases are in First Nations communities in eastern Canada and 7,390 cases are in First Nations communities in western Canada. Omicron has been detected in a total of 134 First Nations communities.

Marc Lalonde is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with IORI:WASE

  The LJI program is federally funded.

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