WINNIPEG -- Three more of Manitoba’s First Nations communities received the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday night.

According to MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee, this means 23 communities have now received the vaccine.

“I think that we’ve reached a pivotal point in our journey through this pandemic,” he said.

Medical advisor Michael Routledge noted that northern First Nations have seen a notable increase in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks, attributing the spike to holiday gatherings and underlying factors.

He noted much of the spike is among younger adults aged 20 to 29.

As of Tuesday, the Northern Health Region had 1,459 active cases of COVID-19, which is the highest of any region in the province.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said at a news conference on Tuesday, that though other regions may see eased public health restrictions after the current ones expire on Friday, the Northern Health Region will likely remain under the current Code Red restrictions.

According to the latest report from the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRCT), there are currently 2,259 active COVID-19 cases among the province’s First Nations people. This includes 1,835 people living on reserves, and 424 living off reserves.

On Tuesday, there were 50 new cases among Manitoba’s First Nations people, as well as a test positivity rate of 21 per cent.

Since the start of the pandemic, 128 of the province’s First Nations people have died from COVID-19, and 4,965 have recovered.

Grand Rapids, Man., will be holding a vaccination clinic on Thursday. It was previously postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

- With files from CTV’s Danton Unger.