COVID-19 Roundup: Confirmed cases climb, municipal vote uncertainty, flags for first responders

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Yesterday, April 20, Nova Scotia saw its biggest one-day jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 46 new positives, raising the provincial total to 721. There are currently eight cases in hospital, including four in ICU. Nine people have died and 248 have recovered from the disease.

The Northwood long-term care home in Halifax has become an infection hot spot, with multiple infections and deaths. Workers on the scene are coordinating closely with government officials. “I want residents, families and staff to know that we’re here to support them and work with them to bring the virus under control at this facility,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, in a recent press release. “Northwood is an excellent operator and I have confidence in their work. But this is a very large facility, the virus is circulating broadly, many staff and residents have tested positive and they need our help.”

Pay now, pay later
Even with government supports, many Nova Scotians are struggling to make ends meet and in their desperation, some are turning to payday loans. They’re usually a bad idea.

“We’ve conducted investigations into several of these companies (including one that dubiously claimed to be located in Nova Scotia),” says Better Business Bureau’s Peter Moorhouse in his latest Halifax Magazine column. “People resorting to this option leave themselves vulnerable to fraud (as some of these companies ask for bank account information before lending), and aggressive and harassing collection tactics … Other companies claim to be able to lend money to anyone, regardless of credit rating or even employment status. The catch in these cases is a fee (usually described as loan insurance or an application fee), payable before the loan is granted. This is also against the law.”

Municipal election uncertainty
Currently, Nova Scotia’s next municipal election is set to go ahead as scheduled on Oct. 17 but many people are questioning if that’s realistic. “We do not know if we will be in the clear regarding COVID-19 by this fall,” says Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton in a recent interview with Jake Boudrot from The Reporter. “The final decision will be a matter of safety of voters and candidates, as well as election workers.”

She adds that virtual debates and campaigns are possible but would leave incumbents like her with an unfair advantage. “Not all citizens could partake,” she says. “It would be tough for new candidates to get their names out there.”

Let your flag fly
When Marcel Marcotte started encouraging his friends and neighbours in North River to join him in flying the Canadian flag, it was to support frontline workers confronting the pandemic. At his doggie daycare, many of the clients are first responders and essential-service workers. “Today we have RCMP dogs and even a dog whose owner is a linesman with Nova Scotia Power,” he tells Raissa Tetanish in this Hub Now report. Since last weekend’s shootings, the campaign has taken on added resonance. “There might be even more need to fly the flag,” he adds.

Nova Scotia’s sorrow
As we continue to process the Portapique attacks, Advocate Media has put together a page hosting ongoing coverage from its various community newspapers.

Need to know
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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