Roundup: 114 known cases as national numbers soar, spotlight on homelessness, rural Internet service continues to lag, cannabis grower earns national recognition

Jake Ward. Photo: Dean Casavechia

As of yesterday (Nov. 26), Nova Scotia has 114 known active cases of COVID-19, with 14 new cases reported in the latest government update: 12 in the Central Zone, one in the Western Zone, and one in the Northern Zone.

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs did 2,253 COVID tests on Nov. 25, including 856 at the rapid-testing pop-up site in downtown Halifax, which revealed five cases.

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: Communications N.S.

“We’ve seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus.”

Nationally, Canada currently has 60,375 known cases of the disease, according to the latest numbers from the federal government. Alberta (14,052 cases) is now the hot spot of infection, followed by Ontario (12,871), Quebec (11,456), and British Columbia (9,591).

Visiting a historic Halifax brothel
We don’t know her last name, or much else about her life, but a woman named Claire left us a fascinating first-person account of sex-trade work in Halifax in the 1960s.

You can find her self-published memoir, White Boots: Sex For Sale Trade in Halifax, in the non-circulating collection at Halifax Central Library. Dorothy Grant discovered it while doing historical research for Halifax Magazine.

“The 67-page memoir is an honest self-portrayal, coupled with a number of human-interest yarns and intriguing accounts of the team she worked with and the men who patronized them,” she says. “She describes the people she worked with as loving, lonesome, and generous women.” Learn more in this 2018 Halifax Magazine story.

Stacey Dlamini

Spotlight on homelessness
The Coldest Night of the Year walk is a key fundraiser and attention-generator for the Pictou County Roots For Youth Society’s efforts to fight homelessness and hunger. As the pandemic drags on, it’s apparent the Feb. 20 event won’t be able to take its usual form, so organizers are retooling.

“[There’s a] virtual option,” says organizer Stacey Dlamini. “People can walk any time during the month of February. They can form their own team or walk with family; however they feel comfortable.” Learn more about the event and society’s important work in this new Pictou Advocate story by Jackie Jardine.

Promises to improve Internet access
With more people than ever working and studying at home, 2020 has made it apparent how slow and unreliable Internet access is in much of Nova Scotia. Government has been aware of the problem for years; now Develop Nova Scotia is promising to spend $193 million to improve access in rural communities around the province.

But Deborah Page, spokesperson for the project, says some people shouldn’t expect improvement: “There will invariably be some homes and businesses that are so rural, or surrounded by challenging topography, that they will be unfeasible to reach.” Jake Boudrot has details for The Reporter.

Jake Ward. Photo: Dean Casavechia

Cannabis grower earns national recognition
As the legal cannabis industry continues to grow and develop, a local grower has emerged as a national leader.

Jake Ward, head grower with Aqualitas in Brooklyn, Queens Co., recently earned the Top Grower in Canada for 2020 title from Grow Opportunity magazine.

“Jake was the first employee hired when we started back in 2016,” says Aqualitas CEO Myrna Gillis. “His passion for the cannabis plant, collaborative approach with the team, and commitment to innovation, sustainability, and excellence have been driving influences in our success.” Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

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

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