COVID-19 Roundup: Fishery uncertainty, why testing matters, cargo keeps moving

As of yesterday, April 15, Nova Scotia has 32 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the provincial total to 549, with 139 recoveries and three deaths. There are currently nine people with the disease in Nova Scotian hospitals (four in ICU).

Test and test some more
Modelling information released by the province earlier this week highlights how Nova Scotian authorities are relying on a broad testing strategy to combat the pandemic. Nova Scotia is second in Canada in the number of people tested per million. The testing lab at the QEII is now operating 24/7, averaging 1,000+ tests per day. “The more people we test, the more likely we are to identify and isolate COVID-19, including mild and asymptomatic cases,” says the report. “This strategy helps us zero in on communities experiencing an increased number of COVID-19 cases.”

Port in a storm
With an annual economic impact of $2 billion, the Port of Halifax is critical to the provincial economy and the main entry point for imports to the region. And so far, the pandemic hasn’t disrupted operations down, say officials with the Halifax Port Authority. “All marine partners in the Port of Halifax are together working very hard to maintain supply chain fluidity and keep cargo moving through our international gateway,” says president and CEO Allan Gray in a recent press release. The authority has created a new COVID info page on its website, currently showing all services operating normally.

Small business needs big help
Across Nova Scotia, small businesses are scrambling to stay afloat as operations overturn and customers vanish. Business associations around the province are trying to adapt as well and help their members. One such organization is the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce. “As much as the governments are trying, there are a number of organizations that do feel left behind in this,” says executive director Sherry Martell in a recent interview with Hub Now reporter Raissa Tetanish. “We are trying to make sure their concerns are heard.” Efforts include lobbying government, sharing information among members and likeminded organizations, and helping businesses move to online operations.

Fishing’s uncertain future
Industry workers are waiting to learn if the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait lobster season will open as scheduled on May 1, reports The Pictou Advocate. As export markets evaporate, captains are wondering if it’s worth going out even if the season does open on time. “It was never a question of can we sell our lobsters,” says Dennis Lismore. “It was always: what’s the price going to be?” Much depends on financial aid from the government; an announcement on that is expected by the end of next week.

Photo: Stoo Metz

Something different
Take a respite from the pandemic news and explore a lighthearted sport that you’ve probably never seen on TV: pole comedy. Competitors combine the skill and athleticism of pole dancing with lighthearted antics. Olivia Malley meets a pair of local dancers this new Halifax Magazine story. Where else are you going to get to read about Batman defeating his foes by dancing the Charleston?

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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