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Government of Canada COVID-19 update for Indigenous Peoples and communities, week of August 2

Government of Canada COVID-19 update for Indigenous Peoples and communities, week of August 2

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, TRADITIONAL UNCEDED ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON , Aug. 4, 2021 /CNW/ - Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is committed to supporting Indigenous communities in their response to COVID-19 and continues to work closely with Indigenous organizations and provincial and territorial governments.

Last week, the Government of Canada received its 66 millionth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This marks an incredible accomplishment in vaccination efforts, as there are now sufficient vaccines to fully vaccinate all eligible people in Canada. As of August 3, close to 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed across the country.

As of August 3, 2021, over 86% of individuals aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities. Of this group, over 64% have received their second dose. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, over 83% of individuals aged 12 and older have received one dose, with 63% having received two doses as of July 30, 2021.

In partnership with First Nations, provincial and territorial governments and third party emergency services providers, ISC is supporting First Nations communities at risk of wildfires and those who are currently affected by them. Fire evacuations have further increased the complexity and challenges associated with managing the pandemic. However, ISC is working with healthcare partners and local public health units to support the implementation of appropriate public health measures to safeguard evacuees from the risks of COVID-19, and to ensure seamless access to health services, including mental health support.

In situations where communities have been evacuated, tribal councils, local health authorities and the Government of Canada are ensuring personal protective equipment, vaccines, testing and healthcare staff remain available to community members.

In Ontario First Nations communities affected by forest fires, ISC is working with partners to provide evacuees access to culturally safe health and social supports during the stay in their host community, including access to primary care, mental health services, recreational activities and outings, as well as providing support for accommodation, food, transportation and security.

ISC regions and Indigenous communities across the country have stepped up to promote and administer COVID-19 vaccinations to Indigenous Peoples. We thank all those who have received their first dose of the vaccine and remind all Canadians to be sure to book your appointment for your second dose to protect against severe disease outcomes, such as hospitalization and death, especially in the context of the Delta variant.  

For samples collected during the week of July 4th, 2021, the Delta variant accounted for over 70% of COVID-19 variants in Canada. This variant is more transmissible than the other circulating variants of concern and may be more severe, requiring full immunization for better protection. For these reasons, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases is still possible. Following public health measures and full immunization are imperative during this time of reopening.

While we are still experiencing some outbreaks affecting primarily unimmunized or partially immunized individuals, we have seen a continuing drop in active case counts of more than 90% over the past six months. As of July 30, 2021, the Department is aware of 20 First Nations communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario affected by COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. In Ontario, there are no active COVID-19 cases in Kashechewan First Nation, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the community's leadership and other federal, provincial, health and non-governmental organization partners.

The Gamma variant COVID-19 outbreak in Yukon is beginning to slow, and the current risk to Yukon residents remains low. The active case count has now dropped below 100, and new cases per day continue to be fewer than 10. Effective August 4, 2021, the Government of Yukon will no longer require people to self-isolate upon entry to the territory, wear masks in indoor public spaces, or practice physical distancing at bars and restaurants, allowing these establishments to return to full capacity as it was before the pandemic.

ISC continues to support the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated in ensuring they have the resources required to administer the COVID-19 vaccines and in their efforts to promote the safety and importance of vaccination among Nunavummiut. 

It is important to note that as provinces and territories continue to ease restrictive public health measures, this easing will be dependent on the current risk level in and around their communities, which is informed by COVID-19 rates, the presence of variants of concern, vaccination coverage in each jurisdiction, public health and health care capacity, and community vulnerabilities. Members of the public must continue to follow their community's recommendations on the use of personal preventive measures, such as wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing and receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine available in Canada.

As of August 3, 2021, the following COVID-19 data has been confirmed:

  • 34,607 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases
  • 279 active cases
  • 33,933 recovered cases
  • 395 deaths.

Under the Government of Canada's Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge, more than 100 community-driven projects are being launched to promote vaccine confidence and reinforce public health measures, including 25 projects by Indigenous communities. These initiatives will take place across the country, in various Indigenous languages. Trusted community leaders and messengers will provide information on COVID-19 vaccination that is culturally appropriate, targeted and informed.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a critical part of Canada's whole-of-government response to the pandemic. The CAF is pleased to continue working in close collaboration with provincial, territorial and Indigenous leadership partners to provide emergency support to all community members affected by the recent COVID-19 outbreaks. As of August 2021, the CAF has assisted more than 100 Indigenous communities across Canada since the beginning of the pandemic. The CAF remains ready to respond wherever and whenever the government needs them to help protect Canadians.

As part of Operation VECTOR, which is the CAF's support to the federal, provincial and territorial governments in distributing COVID-19 vaccines, two weeks ago CAF concluded its support to Ornge's Operation Remote Immunity 2.0. This operation aimed to vaccinate approximately 6,000 youth aged 12 to 17 in 31 Ontario fly-in First Nations communities and Moosonee.

As part of Operation LASER, which is the CAF's response to a global pandemic situation, Canadian Rangers are providing assistance with COVID-19 response efforts in Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario and Hatchet Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Canadian Rangers are also activated in many communities across the country as Sentinels to help identify emerging demands.

Associated links

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Facebook: @GCIndigenousHealth 

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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada

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