Daily COVID-19 case numbers and test positivity rates are increasing across the province as Manitoba enters a fourth wave, and it is also showing signs in some northern First Nations communities.

Mathias Colomb Cree Nation entered the red tier in the province’s pandemic response system on Thursday. Residents can only leave home for essential reasons, with exceptions for fishing and hunting.

As of Friday, the small northern community had 90 active cases. It’s a similar scenario at Norway House Cree Nation, which had 70 active cases as of Friday.

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Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health leader for Manitoba’s First Nations pandemic response coordination team, said that as of Monday through Thursday this week, there were 88 new cases in reserve. He said the increase in numbers across the province is worrying.

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“I am concerned because often once our numbers start to rise, we see the severe results a week or two later,” she said during an update on the COVID-19 response from the Manitoba Assembly on Thursday.

“It is very important that we do not lower our guard.”

Anderson says that as of Thursday, the test positivity rate for First Nations on reserve was 8.4 percent, while off-reserve was 5.2 percent. The province’s overall test positivity rate is 3.4 percent.

He also says that while high levels of vaccination will mitigate the fourth wave, he would like to see greater acceptance in some First Nations communities.

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“In reserve, there are about 27,500 First Nations people who are 12 years of age or older, who need one or both doses to be fully vaccinated,” he said. “This will have a significant impact on public health in terms of reducing the chains of transmission and reducing the likelihood of outbreaks.

“I think it’s important to note that around 15,000 of those people are in the 12-29 age group.

“So when we think of young parents or school-age children and school-related cases, it’s really important that we reach out to anyone who needs a dose or two, but especially in that age group to try and increase coverage of the drug. vaccine. . “

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