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October 20th, 2020


Given the ongoing concerning rise in cases in Manitoba and the escalated restrictions in the Winnipeg
Metropolitan Area effective Monday, October 19th:

  • We strongly encourage cancelling non-essential travel to Orange (Restricted) or Red (Critical) risk levels. This includes Winnipeg and the surrounding Metropolitan area currently.
  • For communities that have significant connections to Winnipeg for medical appointments or other travel, consider reviewing and enacting the Orange Alert Level in the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Alert Levels.
  • We strongly encourage limiting close contacts outside of the home for First Nations people who
    live in the Winnipeg area, or in any communities where COVID-19 cases are currently present.



The Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team advise that, since the October 16th bulletin, forty two (42) new First Nations COVID-19 cases were identified as of 7:00 am, Monday, October 19th. The total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive First Nations cases in Manitoba has increased by 42, taking the total to 339 cases. 212 cases are off-reserve and 127 cases are on-reserve. The total number of recovered cases are now 46, fatal cases is 1 and active cases are 290. As of 4pm October 18th, according to FNIHB there were 90 active cases on reserve.

Details of the 339 First Nations cases:

  • 177 people in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA)
  • 109 people in the Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA)
  • 14 people in the Southern Health-Santé Sud (SHSS)
  • 5 people in the Prairie Mountain Regional Health Authority (PMH)
  • 31 people in the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA)
  • 3 cases where the region of residence is pending
  • The number of recovered cases is 46
  • The number of currently hospitalized cases is 8. This is 28% of all hospitalizations in the province currently.
  • The number of First Nations people in the ICU due to COVID-19 is 1. This is 17% of all COVID-19 ICU admissions currently.
  • The number of deaths among First Nations people due to COVID-19 is 1. The age of the person was over 70. This is the first death in a First Nations person that has been reported. To protect privacy no further specific information will be released.
  • 85 females and 152 males
  • The age range of positive people: 1-88
  • The most commonly reported age group of infected individuals is 20-29 (same as the rest of MB)
  • Travel-acquired cases: 5% (in comparison to 10% for other Manitobans)
  • Acquisition through contact with a known positive case: 72% (in comparison to 67% for other Manitobans)
  • Average time from symptom onset until testing: 4 days (in comparison to 3 days for the rest of MB)
  • 45% of cases reported the presence of an underlying illness (in comparison to 34% for the rest of MB)

Figure 1. Epidemiologic curve – First Nations cases


Figure 2. Number of First Nations cases in Manitoba


First Nation Testing

As of October 19th, 2020, the number of First Nations COVID-19 tests has risen by 993, for a total of 24555 tests conducted for First Nations across Manitoba since the pandemic began. The 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in Manitoba First Nations is 3.05% which is lower than Manitoba’s current 5-day test positivity rate of 4.7%. For First Nations the average test number per person tested is 1.25 in comparison to 1.17 for the rest of MB.

Figure 3. Number of tests performed, and number of people tested.


The total number of tests in First Nations represents 11% of the overall tests done in Manitoba; testing numbers are highest in hospital, particularly in Winnipeg; the main sources of test samples excluding Winnipeg were from nursing stations.

  • Asymptomatic surveillance has yet to identify any First Nations cases.
  • Except in the very young, testing rates are higher in women, 59% overall. This mirrors the provincial testing trends where there are also more women who are being tested at 56%.
  • A total of 19715 First Nations people have been tested to date. Of those, 59% of tests were completed for First Nations who live on reserve and 41% of tests were completed for First Nations who live in urban or rural areas.

Unlike the majority of cases in Manitoba, First Nations people are most likely to be infected through close contact to a known case of COVID-19.

Below are some of the testing trends noted for First Nations individuals.

Figure 4. Epidemic curve of First Nations testing in Manitoba.

Figure 5. Number of people tested for COVID-19 by Tribal Council region of home community.

Figure 6. Test sampling by type of site.


First Nation Contacts

  • Of completed investigations currently available in PHIMS, there are 552 First Nations people that have been named as contacts over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 72% of COVID-19 infections were a result of close contact to a positive COVID-19 case


The epidemiological curve for COVID-19 in First Nations people in Manitoba is showing an ongoing concerning trend. Our families and connections across communities are a strength in many respects, but when it comes to COVID-19 the mobility and these connections can be a risk for spread. There has been a change in the distribution of cases by age, with the most commonly reported age group being 20-29 for First Nations people.

We are seeing a large cluster of cases with connections across communities related to traveling and visiting family, among other things. We also know that people often come to Winnipeg for a variety of reasons including visiting, shopping, and entertainment. There have been a growing number of cases and many more potential public exposures in restaurants, bars, casinos and shopping centers reported in the last couple of weeks. In order to respond to our current situation, we need to be much more careful about the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in Winnipeg, and then the potential of bringing it back to our communities when we return. At this time, we strongly encourage cancelling all non-essential travel to the Winnipeg area.

Effective Monday, October 19 further restrictions are in effect in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region,

  • Beverage rooms, bars, entertainment facilities, and bingo halls are closed.
  • Occupancy is limited in restaurants/ lounges, retail locations, food courts, gym and fitness centers, museums, galleries and libraries.
  • Contact tracing log sheets required in many indoor settings, including theatres, museums, galleries, libraries and fitness facilities.

At this time, PRCT encourages the following actions:

  • Cancel or postpone non-essential travel to areas of the province that are in Orange or Red levels on the Pandemic Response System, including Winnipeg and surrounding areas at this time.
  • Limiting close contacts outside of the household if you live in the Winnipeg area or in a community where cases are present.
  • If you have family who live in other communities/ areas from you, consider ways to connect that are lower risk for spreading COVID-19, such as connecting by phone, social media or other virtual platforms.
  • Practice physical distancing measures and stay 2m/ 6ft away from people who are outside of your household.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
  • Regularly clean commonly touched surfaces such as door handles and countertops.
  • Wear non-medical masks when you are in public places.
  • Follow gathering size orders. At this time we encourage communities to consider lowering any gatherings to 10 people whether indoors or outdoors.
  • Stay home and self-isolate if you have any new symptoms that could be from COVID-19, no matter how mild the symptoms are.
  • Present for testing if your symptoms last for more than 24 hours.

You can access testing by calling the health facility in your community, going to the RHA testing site closest to you, calling your health care provider, or use the Screening Tool available here where you can be tested.


COVID-19 resources and links:

Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Alert Levels

School Division Reopening Plans

Restoring Safe Schools: August 13 – School Settings Practice Guidance and Protocols

Applying Current Public Health Orders and Guidance to Community Events

Public Health Considerations During COVID-19 for Sundance Leaders

Manitoba government COVID-19 information