Sask. among highest COVID-19 case counts on First Nations nationally
REGINA -- Saskatchewan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases on First Nations in Canada, according to data released by the federal government on Jan. 12.
On Canadian First Nations, 11,502 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with 2,932 of those cases in Saskatchewan.
Alberta has seen the highest amount of cases on First Nations with 3,754, followed by Manitoba with 3,082 cases of the virus. Ontario has recorded 349 COVID-19 cases on First Nations.
There have been 107 COVID-19 related deaths on First Nations across the country.
"For a viral infection like COVID, where you need to isolate for 14 days and the fact that every family or every household is 10 to 15 people," Regina Medical Health Officer for Indigenous Services Canada Dr. Ibrahim Khan said. "It really becomes impossible to make that isolation happen."
Chief Evan Taypotat of the Kahkewistahaw First Nation, which is about 160 km east of Regina, said his community buried a 53-year-old man on Tuesday
Taypotat described Elwyn Smoker as smart and articulate.
Currently, the First Nation of around 700 residents has 15 active cases of COVID-19.
"The things that happened on New Year's Eve led to the spike, Taypotat said. "We're paying for it today with the COVID numbers in our community. Our people are strong and we're going to learn from it."
Taypotat has sent a message to residents about being vigilant and reducing the spread of COVID-19.
"It's important to understand that health is directly related to wealth and that the First Nations People of Canada are the poorest people in Canada," Taypotat said. "It's sad to say, but the original people of this land, are the poorest financially, which ultimately means we are the sickest.”
On Wednesday, the federal government announced an additional $1.2 billion to help First Nations in Canada fight COVID-19.
The money will go towards supporting First Nations in their measures to prevent, prepare and respond to the virus.