COVID-19 Roundup: schools staying closed, mental health post-pandemic, loans for municipalities, Autism N.S. ‘continually adapting’

Premier Stephen McNeil. Photo: CNS

Yesterday, April 28, Nova Scotia announced three more deaths and 15 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the pandemic totals to 27 deaths and 915 confirmed cases. The recent deaths were all at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax. As of April 27, there were 10 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors’ facilities in Nova Scotia with cases of COVID-19, involving 218 residents and 95 staff, according to a government press release.

The snow day without end
In yesterday’s media briefing, Premier Stephen McNeil announced schools will stay closed until at least May 19, with officials reassessing “as that date approaches.”

Loans for municipalities
Also yesterday, the provincial government announced a $380-million loan program for municipalities. “Municipalities need support to address the financial issues they are facing as a result of lost revenue,” says municipal affairs minister Chuck Porter in a press release. “This program will help to bridge that gap so they can continue to deliver programs and services.” [Editor’s note: As I mused on Twitter yesterday, isn’t the province lending the municipalities operating funds kind of like you giving your kid a loan to buy supper? Why not make it a grant?]

But tonight we dance
Four years ago, Maritime Bhangra became YouTube stars as they danced on the rocks at Peggy’s Cove. Since then, they’ve crisscrossed the country, sharing a message of joy and supporting local charities. The pandemic has cancelled upcoming performances, but their work continues as they dance for Feed Nova Scotia and keep trying to make people happy. “With the amount of grief and sadness we are all going through… we all need a bit of smiling,” says Hasmeet Singh Chandok in this new Halifax Magazine story by Olivia Malley.

Autism Nova Scotia ‘continually adapting’
While its offices are closed, Autism Nova Scotia is quickly adapting its programming. “We’re not only thinking in terms of individuals but also the families and supportive folks who are struggling… to support their family member or friend,” says Vicki Harvey, Autism Nova Scotia outreach coordinator for chapters and family support. “There’s a lot… we’re trying to provide.” She tells Raissa Tetanish about the online programs the organization is now offering in this report for Hub Now.

Post-pandemic mental health
Dr. Peter Vaughan, a former Nova Scotia deputy minister of health, is worried about the mental-health impacts of the pandemic, particularly on frontline workers. “They’re going to be the ones who struggle with the aftermath of this,” he tells LighthouseNow reporter Keith Corcoran. “This is not a small, short kind of a phenomena, it is a serious global problem.”

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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