42 new cases of COVID-19 involving First Nations people in Manitoba

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The number of First Nations people in Manitoba infected with COVID-19 is the highest its ever been — which the team tasked with responding to cases in Indigenous communities calls a concerning, ongoing trend.

The number spiked by 42 cases Monday, rising to 339 people infected since the novel coronavirus pandemic began, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team.

The majority of those cases involved people living off-reserve — 212, compared with 127 on reserve.

Meanwhile, 290 of those total cases remain active — 90 are on reserve while 200 are off-reserve.

Eight people are in hospital, with one person in intensive care.

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As of Monday, 24,555 First Nations people in Manitoba have been tested for COVID-19, according to the pandemic response team — the current test positivity rate is 3.05 per cent.

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Breakdown of First Nations cases: 

177 in the Winnipeg health region109 in the Interlake Eastern health region14 in the Southern Health region5 in the Prairie Mountain health region31 in the Northern Health region

The location of three cases has not yet been determined.

One First Nations person in their 70s has died of COVID-19 complications, the pandemic response team said Friday — the first death since the beginning of the pandemic.

The team, organized by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and other Indigenous leadership in the province, said First Nations people in Manitoba are most likely to be infected through close contact with a positive case.

The rate of close contact infection for First Nations people is 72 per cent, compared with 67 per cent for non-First Nations people, the pandemic response team said in its bulletin.

The pandemic response has advised against non-essential travel — particularly to Winnipeg, where the number of novel coronavirus cases has spiked in recent weeks.

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