COVID-19 Roundup: Help with Pharmacare fees, making masks, urban gardening, fishery uncertainty continues

Yesterday, April 22, Nova Scotia tallied 35 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the provincial total to 772. There are currently 10 cases in hospital, with three in ICU. There were two more deaths (bringing the total to 12), both residents of the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.

Pharmacare fees
In March, the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists recommended that pharmacists limit prescriptions that would normally be filled for longer periods to 30 days. “This step was… to help protect the drug supply and is similar to measures in place in other parts of the country,” says a government press release.

But that also left people facing more dispensing fees—for example, paying three dispensing fees for a 90-day supply of medication that they used to be able to get in one refill. A government announcement yesterday should help with that. “Government will now pay extra dispensing fees for Pharmacare clients for refills on prescriptions that would usually be filled for longer periods,” it says. “For example, government will cover the second and third refill dispensing fees for prescriptions typically dispensed for 90 days.”

Working the soil
As Nova Scotians spend much more time at home, interest in urban gardening is blossoming. Growing their own food gives people a feeling of taking the initiative when so much is beyond control. “It is kind of an accomplishment,” says gardener Gigi Pelletier. “Nothing is ever going to taste better then something you grew fresh off the vine.” In this new Halifax Magazine story, Olivia Malley meets some passionate new gardeners and offers a step-by-step guide to preparing for your own harvest.

Behind the mask
Wearing a homemade mask won’t stop you from getting COVID-19, but it may prevent its spread. And for many Nova Scotians, making the masks for those who need them has become a source of comfort. In Pugwash, Judy Turple started making them as a way to stay busy while recovering from hip surgery. There was instant demand: relying on donated supplies, she’s made and given away 85 masks so far. “I can’t get over how generous people have been,” she tells Raissa Tetanish from the Tatamagouche Light. “Anyone who needs a mask will get one.” Want to learn to make masks yourself? Kim Hart Macneill shares how easy it is in this recent East Coast Living post.

Fishing future
Even though government has deemed the fishing industry an essential service, it faces a cloudy future, with seasons delayed, questions about how workers can stay safe, and uncertain markets. As Jake Boudrot writes in this story for The Reporter, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan has offered reassurance, but doubts remain. “There is a high level of anxiety and concern regarding safety for our communities,” crab-fishing industry representatives say in a recent press release.

How do you feel?
Market-research group Decision Partners has been doing an ongoing series of web polls exploring how people are coping with the pandemic. While the polls aren’t scientific, they provide an interesting snapshot of evolving attitudes. Some highlights from the latest edition:

—Respondents are resigned that we are in it for the long haul.
—Several are reporting they are “tired, frustrated, bored and anxious.” Some say they are “good, fine and hopeful.” But most respondents are “coping.”
—Respondents say they are concerned about their mental health and that of others; they’re struggling to stay positive. But almost all report they are prepared to handle the impacts of social isolation.
—For the fourth week in a row, respondents are most grateful for “family” and “health.” The top thing they are looking forward to is “spending time with friends and family.”

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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