Roundup: 182 recoveries, vaccines for tweens, kids adapt to a COVID world, concerns for temporary foreign workers’ safety, upgrades for South Shore airport

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 numbers continue trending in the right direction, with the province reporting 33 new cases and 182 recoveries yesterday, for a total of 638 known active cases. Officials are worried about community spread in industrial Cape Breton though: yesterday the Eastern Zone accounted for 18 of the new cases.

“We continue to see virus activity across the province, which serves as a reminder of the importance of going out and getting tested, even if you have no symptoms,” Premier Iain Rankin says in a press release. “Testing helps detect cases early on, which helps to manage and limit the spread of the virus.”

There are 63 people hospitalized with the disease in the province, 21 of them in ICU. So far, COVID-19 has killed 25,411 people in Canada, including 79 Nova Scotians.

Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, are scheduled to webcast an update today at 3 p.m.; many observers expect them to follow the lead of the other Maritime provinces and announce details of a reopening plan.

More vaccination categories open
The government also announced yesterday that COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available provincewide for people aged 12 and older. Those people can book Pfizer appointments; anyone aged 18 and up is eligible for Moderna or Pfizer.

“I encourage parents and guardians to talk with their children about the vaccine,” Strang says in a press release. “By getting vaccinated, you are protecting yourself, your friends and family, and your community.”

Photo: BigStock

Kids adapt to a COVID world
The pandemic upended life for everyone, and “normal” still looks a long ways off. But unlike adults, children are often unable to fully grasp what’s happening or why. Many parents are reporting signs of germaphobia, hypochondria, and a fear of strangers in previously outgoing children.

And mental-health experts are worried about the long-term implications of that.

“We’re seeing an increase in all types of OCD,” says Dr. Laura Rosen, a psychologist at the IWK Health Centre, adding that there is “increased demand across the board for mental health and addictions treatment.”

Ameeta Vohra reports for Our Children.

Concerns for temporary foreign workers’ safety
Low-paid temporary foreign workers are the unseen and often unappreciated backbone of Nova Scotia’s rural economy: fish plants and farms throughout the region rely on them to keep their operations running.

Often those workers come from places where the pandemic is still running amok and vaccinations are rare, so the Migrant Workers Rights Working Group is asking Strang to prioritize their inoculations.

“Migrant workers risk their lives to come to work in Canada during the pandemic,” the group in a letter. “Since the onset of the pandemic, thousands of migrant workers across the country have become ill with COVID-19, including in Nova Scotia, and several have passed away from the virus. We urge you to ensure that migrant workers are not left behind in the province’s vaccination strategy and implementation.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Halifax’s last hanging
On March 7, 1935, in the space that’s now a parking lot behind the courthouse on Spring Garden Road, justice officials hung Daniel Perry Sampson, a Black man convicted for the murder of two young brothers.

Despite the conviction, his guilt is by no means certain. He was a First World War veteran, who served in the trailblazing No. 2 Construction Battalion. When he came home, the war’s trauma came with him. He often behaved oddly, didn’t hold down steady work, and couldn’t seem to get his life on track.

Sampson was the ideal scapegoat for investigators keen to wrap up a case that was drawing public outrage.

During the trials and appeals, the juries of his “peers” were comprised exclusively of white men, some of whom openly admitted to disliking Black people, but were still allowed to serve. A few hours before his execution, someone coerced the illiterate man into signing a confession that he almost certainly didn’t understand.

In this new Halifax Magazine post, Dorothy Grant looks back at the sad case, and how the Last Post Fund recently stepped up to ensure Sampson got a dignified memorial.

Darlene Norman

Upgrades for South Shore airport
It’s been a decade since the South Shore Regional Airport in Greenfield has been able to refuel visiting airplanes. It has no commercial service, but is a frequent stop for private fliers.

The Queens municipal government has budgeted $50,000 for the new fuel supply system and expects work to happen later this year.

“The council … believes in the importance of that infrastructure,” says Mayor Darlene Norman. “People can move here and run a global business from their home, and we have this quick transportation link to all parts of Atlantic Canada, and as far-reaching as Toronto.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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