After easing during the summer, the number of Covid-19-related deaths began rising in the early fall, says Statistics Canada.

In a new report, the national statistical agency said that, between March and June, there were more than 7,000 “excess” deaths — death totals that exceed historical averages — during the pandemic’s first wave.

In July, the weekly death numbers returned to levels that StatsCan said would have been expected without the added effects of a pandemic. However, death totals started heading higher in early fall, it said.

In the first 10 days of October, there were 244 deaths that the Public Health Agency of Canada attributed to Covid-19, StatsCan said, compared with 171 for all of September.

Also, during the first wave the pandemic hit minority communities harder, StatsCan said.

For instance, it noted that, in Ontario and Quebec, the number of Covid-19 deaths were three times higher in minority neighbourhoods compared with neighbourhoods with the lowest proportions of visible minorities.

“These patterns also applied to specific population groups,” StatsCan said. “In Montreal, the higher the proportion of Black Canadians in a neighbourhood’s population, the higher the Covid-19 mortality rate. In Toronto, similar results were observed for South-Asian Canadians.”

StatsCan said that excess mortality is critical to understanding the pandemic’s direct and indirect effects.

The indirect effects include the consequences of measures implemented to address the pandemic — which could affect mortality, either positively or negatively — such as people missing or delaying medical testing and treatment due to Covid-19, a possible increase in substance abuse, and fewer traffic accident deaths due to decreased travel.