COVID-19 Roundup: 973 recoveries, drive-through graduation, care centre rides out pandemic, preparing for tourism

Riverbreeze Farm.

Yesterday, May 24, Nova Scotia confirmed one new case of COVID-19, raising the provincial total to 1,050. Northwood in Halifax currently has 12 residents and four staff active cases. The province has had 58 COVID-19 deaths. There are six pandemic patients in hospital, including three in ICU; 973 people have recovered.

“It is still important to follow public health advice, practise good hygiene and limit large gatherings,” says Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “Doing all of these things will help ensure our case numbers continue to stay low.”

Celebrating the Class of 2020
For this year’s graduates, the end of high school is a strange anticlimax: no dances, class trips, or big parties. Near Truro, RiverBreeze Farm—best known for its Halloween corn mazes—is making plans to offer graduates a drive-through ceremony. “This is a time when these young people need to be shown that 12 years in school didn’t end with a letter in the mail,” says farmer Jim Lorraine. “It’s something more special than that. [This plan] shows that the community is thinking of you.”

RiverBreeze has a large parking lot, which Lorraine believes will make it easy for families to show up in cars, maintain safe distancing, drive up to receive the diploma, and still have some sort of graduation ceremony. “This is something we could do right across the province,” he tells Raissa Tetanish in this Hub Now story.

Gael Watson (left) and Andra White.

The next chapter
LaHave River Books has been an unexpected success story during the pandemic. Owners Gael Watson and Andra White have stayed busy, continuing to serve their loyal bibliophiles with delivery and curbside pickup. It’s been a rapid transition for a business that usually approaches change cautiously. “We take the slow boat,” White says in this LighthouseNow story by Gayle Wilson. “But the e-transfer, we really liked getting that up and running.”

Riding out the pandemic
While the mounting death toll at Northwood dominates headlines, other long-term care centres have avoided similar catastrophes. In this new story for The Reporter, Jake Boudrot looks at St. Ann Community and Nursing Care Centre in Arichat.

At that site, visitor restrictions and strict infection-control measures have been in place since mid-March, effectively keeping the disease out. For residents, this has meant lots of adjustments: no visits, no outings. “They understand the fact that they’re safe and the measures that we’re using to keep them that way,” says administrator Annette Fougere. “They understand the other side of it.”

Preparing for tourism
It’s hard to imagine what this year’s tourism season will look like, but with international (and even interprovincial) travel near frozen, it’s safe to assume operators will rely heavily on local support.

Industry officials are planning to heavily promote staycations, as Jim Gourlay recently wrote in Halifax Magazine, and around the province, organizations are preparing. “Things are different but things are still happening,” says Cindy MacKinnon, managing director of Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores. She tells Jackie Jardine about her organization’s plans in this Pictou Advocate report.

Spread the word
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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