Government of Canada COVID-19 Update for Indigenous Peoples and communities

News release

December 31, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada is closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases reported in First Nations communities across the country. The Department has recently observed a reduction in the number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities with 600 new cases reported during the week of December 20-26 down from 1,219 new cases reported during the week of December 6-12.

On First Nations reserves, as of December 30, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is aware of:

  • 8,493 confirmed positive COVID-19
  • 3,039 active cases
  • 5,373 recovered cases
  • 81 deaths

There are a total of 31 confirmed positive cases in Nunavik, Quebec and all have recovered. As of December 30, the Government of Nunavut is reporting three active cases and a total of 266 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 262 people that have recovered from the virus and of the four impacted communities, only Arviat and Whale Cove still have active cases.

The logistics of a COVID-19 vaccine requires significant coordination amongst partners. That is why ISC is working closely with Indigenous, provincial and territorial partners to ensure an integrated, coordinated and co-developed approach supporting access to a COVID-19 vaccine by Indigenous Peoples and communities. Regional trilateral and co-planning tables are in progress to support COVID-19 vaccine planning inclusive of Indigenous partners. Close collaboration, information sharing and innovative solutions will be required to maximize the positive impact of immunization among Indigenous communities, including in urban centres.

Last week's approval by Health Canada of the second COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, is an important step forward to increase the available vaccine supply across the country. The storage and handling requirements of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine mean that it can be distributed to isolated and remote Indigenous communities, including communities in the territories. This distribution will enable vaccine access in particular to the territories, in Inuit Nunangat, and to vulnerable, remote and isolated Indigenous communities.

As we approach the New Year, everyone must continue to keep themselves and their families safe, while protecting populations and communities at high risk. While the arrival of a vaccine marks an important development, everyone must continue to limit close contact to only those in their immediate household and reduce in-person interactions to only essential errands and activities. Maintaining public health practices is crucial: stay home and self-isolate if symptoms arise or if infected or are being asked to self-isolate, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask when interacting with people from outside the household (including indoors and outdoors), and keep up with frequent hand, cough and surface hygiene.

The Government of Canada recognizes and thanks the frontline workers who put their own safety on the line every day to make sure families, youth, and especially Elders are kept safe. Their dedication and hard work has reduced the number of people who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, the risk of spread increases. We urge all community members to support their leadership and follow the community and provincial public health measures that have proven to save lives. Everyone can help limit the spread by making wise decisions and following recommended public health measures.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Marie-Emmanuelle Cadieux
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services
marie-emmanuelle.cadieux@canada.ca

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
SAC.media.ISC@canada.ca

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