Manitoba's First Nation COVID-19 pandemic response team says First Nations now account for 40 per cent of new infections.

That's despite the fact they make up about 10 per cent of the overall Manitoba population.

The task force reports that 61 per cent of the people with active COVID-19 in the province are First Nations.

Norway House Cree Nation Chief Larson Anderson says in a statement that housing shortages, limited health care and underlying health issues among many community members could mean a rapid and devastating spread of the virus.

"This experience is like being part of a crew on a boat in the vast ocean. Sadly, the boat has many leaks and damages and is in constant need of repairs," Anderson says. "The pandemic is like a massive storm that is battering the boat and making an already dangerous situation more critical."

Peguis First Nation was also among the communities to receive vaccines last week. They began distributing their 250 doses on Monday. The Vaccine Task Force decided priority will be given to Personal Care Home residents and staff, and those aged 70+.