As the number of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan rises, Indigenous communities in the province have chosen a different direction. Even as the virus gained traction, cases in Indigenous populations started to decline at the end of January.
As COVID-19 cases increased in Saskatchewan in 2021, the number of cases among the province’s Indigenous groups decreased significantly.
According to data collected from the federal and provincial governments, the province’s general population and Indigenous populations were in lockstep during last year, developing cases at approximately the same period.
The two populations started to diverge at the end of January. The number of new cases in the province has risen steadily, but they have nearly leveled off in Indigenous communities. Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation is well aware of the trend.
The First Nation, which is about 140 kilometers east of Regina, has a population of over 900 people living on the reservation. It was able to go until January 2021 without registering a single case of the virus.
The performance, according to Delorme, is due to cooperation and a commitment to working together. The provincial government declined to comment on the reasons for the population split.
Indigenous peoples have been included in the province’s Phase 1 vaccine distribution plan, which includes doses for those over 50 who live in rural or northern Saskatchewan. As of April 13, the initiative has been extended to include people aged 40 and up. It wouldn’t offer any specifics about those efforts.