Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller responds to a question during a news conference, Thursday, October 8, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

No doubt second wave of COVID-19 will hit Indigenous communities harder: Miller

A First Nation in northern Saskatchewan went into lockdown and closed its schools due to COVID

Canada’s top doctor says the second wave of COVID-19 has surfaced as a series of regional epidemics and the federal government is warning about rising case numbers on First Nations.

“Given what we have seen in the last two weeks, there is little doubt the second wave of COVID-19 will hit Indigenous communities harder,” Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said Thursday in Ottawa.

Miller explained that during the first months of the pandemic, infection rates on reserves were relatively low compared to the general public. But in the past six weeks, there have been outbreaks in Indigenous communities across the country.

There are currently 123 active cases of COVID-19 on reserves — the majority in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

A First Nation in northern Saskatchewan went into lockdown and closed its schools Thursday over concerns of COVID-19 transmission following a series of religious services where participants were unmasked.

And earlier this week, a First Nation in Manitoba took similar action after 19 people in the small, remote community tested positive.

Regional epidemics across the country will require a tailored response, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

It will also require every person to stay vigilant and ready to adapt to changes, she said.

There has been an average of 2,052 new cases daily over the past week. On Thursday, Ontario reported 797 new cases — the most it has had in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said 57 per cent of those new infections were people under the age of 40.

Quebec’s surging numbers also continued Thursday with 1,078 new cases. There were nine more deaths and hospitalizations increased by 16.

Premier Francois Legault said his government was right to recently impose strict measures in the hot spots of Montreal and Quebec City. New restrictions on gyms and sports teams and mandatory masks in classrooms for high school students came into effect Thursday.

In addition, several regions between the two cities were moved to the highest COVID-19 alert level. Police checkpoints will be placed on some roads to discourage non-essential travel.

READ MORE: First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

Health officials said earlier this week that positive cases among seniors in Quebec were increasing again. Quebec and Ontario have also seen more people needing hospitalization.

Tam said in a statement that if the rate of hospitalizations continues to climb, it could put strains on health system capacity.

Regions of the country that saw a low rate of infectionsearlier this year have seen a swell of positive cases in recent weeks. British Columbia and Manitoba are seeing new daily infections higher than in the spring.

New Brunswick went months with very few cases of COVID-19 as part of the Atlantic bubble. But a recent outbreak at a care home and increase in positive cases prompted the province to make masks mandatory in most indoor public places. Non-essential day trips that had been allowed for residents of two Quebec border communities have been banned.

“Based upon what we are seeing in our neighbouring provinces and the outbreak in Moncton, we know how quickly the virus can spread through a community,” Premier Blaine Higgs said in a news release.

“We must take every possible measure to prevent that from happening in our province.”

Leaders and health officials across the country have urged people to stay home over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

“Make careful choices,” Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said after announcing 67 new cases.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. It is to have 14 mats available nightly for those experiencing homelessness, regardless of weather conditions. (Tracy Holmes photo)
14 beds planned for South Surrey extreme-weather shelter

Webinar tonight to field questions, share info on Peace Portal Alliance Church refuge

White Rock Whalers president Ronnie Paterson (inset photo) is hopeful the team and City of White Rock will be able to find a solution that will allow the Whalers and their PJHL opponents to use the dressing rooms at Centennial Arena. (Jody Harris photo)
Whalers waiting to hear on dressing-room availability as PJHL home-opener looms

White Rock team owner ‘confident’ hurdles can be overcome in talks with city

The Sunshine Band Club video posted to Youtube.
VIDEO: Surrey youth band shines light on ‘COVID blues,’ raises money for hospital

Virtual concert from Sunshine Band Club, established last March

Not everybody lined up to vote on Saturday. In Surrey, 68,396 mail-in ballots still need to be counted for the final election tally. (Black Press Media)
North Surrey voters steer left, South Surrey voters steer right

Once again, it’s NDP orange in the city’s north end, Liberal red in the south

Nia Misiak
Surrey student given award for academic success despite health challenges

Nia Misiak says grant will help her pursue aspirations ‘and help others through similar experiences’

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for Throness uncertain as Chilliwack-Kent awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Most Read