COVID-19 Roundup: Keeping supplies moving, improving Internet access, nutrition for the housebound

Yesterday, May 11, Nova Scotia tallied another pandemic death, once again at Northwood. The provincial death toll now stands at 48. There was also another confirmed case of COVID-19, raising the total to 1,019.

Northwood currently has 156 residents and 18 staff with active cases, according to a government press release. One other facility has one staff member with an active case of COVID-19 and another facility has one resident with an active case. Nova Scotia has had 33,869 negative tests. Nine people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, three in ICU. Some 767 people have recovered.

Unable to connect
When the pandemic lockdown began in March, the provincial government announced $15 million in funding to improve Internet access around the province. Yesterday, Develop Nova Scotia announced that high-speed service is now available in Shelburne County and areas surrounding Canning in Kings County.

“The importance of high-speed Internet for Nova Scotians is pressing,” says Develop Nova Scotia CEO Jennifer Angel. “We engaged our internet service provider partners to help solve this critical challenge with ingenuity and urgency.” Other projects are underway to connect more homes and businesses across the province including $2.2 million to bring service to 18,000 connections in the Elmsdale, Shelburne, and Caledonia areas, and Cumberland and Colchester counties.

Anita Anand

Managing the supply chain
Anita Anand, Canada’s minister of public services and procurement, recently announced the creation of the  COVID-19 Supply Council. It will bring together 17 members from the private and non-profit sectors to provide the government with advice on the procurement of critical goods and services.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have engaged with provinces, territories, and the private and non-governmental sectors to respond to this crisis,” says Anand. “This council builds on that collaborative approach, bringing together a diverse group of leaders to help us address current and future supply challenges.”

Big responsibility, little pay
The fight against the pandemic has underlined how many workers in our health-care system (from cleaners to lab technicians and many others) get pay that’s wildly out of step with the importance of their roles. “The precarious workers in our health-care system deserve full-time jobs and better pay and benefits,” writes Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour in an opinion piece for the Pictou Advocate. “The system must be funded properly and we must always have at hand… enough safety equipment.”

Nutrition for the housebound
The pandemic has left many seniors more isolated than ever and concerns are growing about their access to nutritious food and hygiene supplies. On the South Shore, a local meal program is getting a $6,513 lift from Lunenburg County’s United Way.

The VON’s Frozen Favourites meal program aims to help address the nutritional needs of people who are housebound due to the coronavirus. The delivery service provides the VON a chance to deliver both nutrition and a safety check at the seniors’ doorsteps. “We want and try and work with the community partners,” Lunenburg County United Way coordinator Michael Graves tells Lighthouse Now reporter Keith Corcoran. “We try to tap into their networks when we can, and we’ll try and find a partner if we think can implement a program.”

Community causes
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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