WINNIPEG - The pandemic response task for First Nations in Manitoba says 40 per cent of new COVID-19 infections are currently being found in those communities. As vaccines are distributed on several reserves, officials are reporting that 61 per cent of active cases of the virus in the province are on First Nations. That’s more than 1,500 active cases on reserve, and more than 500 among First Nations individuals who are off-reserve.
Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says, with the challenges isolated and remote communities are facing in combating the spread of the virus, getting vaccines distributed in quantity is the most pressing issue for healthcare workers. Around 5,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been reserved for Manitoba’s indigenous peoples, and the province says all 63 First Nations will receive a shipment, with a second to arrive in late February.
While daily infection averages in Manitoba have begun to decrease, the five-day test positivity rate among on-reserve First Nations hovers around 19 per cent.