First Nations communities see increase in COVID-19 cases, minister says

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First Nations communities across the country are have seen an uptick in novel coronavirus cases in the last week, Canada’s Indigenous Services Minister said on Saturday.

According to Marc Miller, since April 24, there have been 95 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities on reserve and 14 infections in Nunavik Inuit communities.

There are a number of immediate actions that can be taken that have proven to be the most effective means of slowing the spread of the virus — ones many of us have become quite familiar with, but which are worth repeating,” Miller said. “Namely hand-washing, physical distancing, no large or even small gatherings, self-isolation and active identification of symptoms.”

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Miller said the government is counting on Indigenous leadership to “persist in their efforts to share this message with their communities.”

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He said to date, on top of support from provinces, the federal government has distributed 160,000 gowns, 500,000 gloves and close to 200,000 surgical masks to affected communities.

And, Miller said there has been “positive progress” when it comes to support for urban Indigenous populations.

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