COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: Nunavut reports its 1st community cases


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COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: Nunavut reports its 1st community cases's Profile

The number of COVID-19 cases on First Nations reserves across Canada continues to climb, according to data from Indigenous Services Canada, and Nunavut has reported its first cases in one of the territory’s communities.

ISC reported 771 active cases on reserves as of Nov. 9, and 440 new cases in the last week with the majority occurring in Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. 

There have been a total of 2,050 cases on-reserve since the pandemic started. Twenty additional hospitalizations were reported since last week bringing the total to 103 and two additional deaths were reported bringing the death toll to 17. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease reached 1,262.

In a Nov. 6 update, Indigenous Services Canada said the rise in new and active cases continues to be linked to large private and public gatherings where physical distancing and masks were not observed. The federal department said it is also standing ready to deploy additional resources as required to First Nations in Manitoba that are dealing with outbreaks.

Nunavut’s chief public health officer confirmed Nunavut’s first case of COVID-19, in Sanikiluaq, on Nov. 6. On Monday, Dr. Michael Patterson confirmed a case of COVID-19 at one of the territory’s isolation hubs in Winnipeg, a day after confirming a second positive case in Sanikiluaq.

Total cases on First Nations reserves per region reported as of Nov. 9:

  • British Columbia: 186
  • Alberta: 620
  • Saskatchewan: 458
  • Manitoba: 518
  • Ontario: 164

Akwesasne dealing with outbreak

Akwesasne, south of Cornwall, Ont., continues to dealing with an outbreak. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Community Health Program, which oversees the northern jurisdiction of the territory, announced it has 10 active cases as of Nov. 9, while there are 20 active cases within the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s southern jurisdiction. 

In a notice issued to Facebook, the Mohawk Council reminded the community of the importance of isolating while awaiting COVID-19 test results. 

“Family and friends can offer to assist isolating families by dropping off food and supplies and checking in via technology,” it stated.

“We understand that COVID-19 has created many difficulties and we all wish to resume our normal lives. Please remain diligent so that we can stop further spread of COVID-19 in our community. Avoid any unnecessary travel and social gatherings and always wear a mask in public locations. We can all help to keep Akwesasne safe.”

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

  • new or worsening cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • temperature equal to or over 38°C
  • feeling feverish
  • chills
  • fatigue or weakness
  • muscle or body aches
  • new loss of smell or taste
  • headache
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
  • feeling very unwell

If you think you may have COVID-19, please consult your local health department to book an appointment at a screening clinic. 

CBC Indigenous is looking to hear from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit who have contracted COVID-19. If you would like to share your experience, please email us at

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