SASKATOON -- The number of COVID-19 variant cases is increasing in Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) communities where 10 cases have now been detected.

"We have very serious concern given the increase in cases of the variants," said NITHA’s chief medical health officer Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka. "The variants of concern are highly contagious, it is able to transmit more quickly to more people."

The province's Far North West reporting area had eight variant cases and the Far North East had two reported cases as of Tuesday.

Those numbers have been rising since April 1 when the province was reporting two variants cases in the Far North East.

Ndubuka says about 20 per cent of residents in NITHA communities have received their dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"First Nations have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 due to lack of adequate isolation infrastructure and also social determinants of health so this is a concern for us here," said Ndubuka.

With the new variants in the north, Ndubuka says it’s more important than ever to follow public health orders and avoid travel.

He also recommends getting vaccinated as soon as you are eligible and staying home if you present any COVID-19 symptoms.