COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: What you need to know

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COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: What you need to know's Profile


Over 68 per cent of adults in First Nations communities have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

To date, a total of 416,106 vaccine doses, including 134,740 second doses, have been administered in 690 First Nations and Inuit communities. The percentage is based on Statistics Canada’s 2021 population projections. 

Read more about vaccination efforts to vaccinate urban Indigenous populations in Ontario:

Active cases

There were 820 active cases in First Nations as of May 11, an increase of 59 cases from a week prior, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

The majority of new infections were reported primarily on the Prairies, with 238 new cases in Alberta and 160 new cases in Manitoba since last week. Nunavut is reporting 69 active cases in Iqaluit as of May 12.

“This pandemic isn’t over, and we can’t let our guards down,” said Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous Services Canada, on Wednesday during a news briefing.

“We’re making progress with vaccinations and it’s a relief to see the overall number of cases go down over the past four months coupled with the enforcement of public health measures. The trend over the last few days has been not so good so we need to reverse the upswing by not letting up or being complacent.”

Eight deaths were reported in the last week, bringing the total number of First Nations people living on-reserve who have died from the virus to 326. There have been a total of 28,118 cases in First Nations communities since the pandemic began, with 1,255 hospitalizations. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 26,972.

Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of May 11:

  • British Columbia: 3,007
  • Alberta: 8,103
  • Saskatchewan: 6,742
  • Manitoba: 7,518
  • Ontario: 2,004
  • Quebec: 728
  • Atlantic: 16

Pandemic stories:


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 or lost a loved one to COVID-19. If you would like to share your story, please email us at indigenous@cbc.ca.



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