Roundup: 22 more deaths as COVID strains health-care system, Pictou concert fetes music legends, Antigonish merger talks hit turbulence

Researcher Cheryl MacDonald studies hockey's efforts to become more inclusive. Photo: Bruce Murray

Plus: Long largely the bastion of white men, hockey is diversifying — a local researcher studies the shift

COVID-19 killed 22 more Nova Scotians from April 27 to May 2 according to the province’s latest update, but health officials continue to say that the worst of the sixth wave is behind us.

“It is encouraging to see the number of new PCR-confirmed infections decline again this week and to see the peak of the sixth wave behind us,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release

Provincial labs confirmed 3,415 COVID cases in the last week, but other experts say those figures don’t give a true picture of the pandemic. Dr. Tara Moriarty, director of an infectious diseases research laboratory and professor at the University of Toronto medical school, estimates that Nova Scotia was tallying about 24,000 new cases per day as of late April.

So far, COVID is known to have has killed 6,246,828 people worldwide, including 39,352 in Canada and 336 Nova Scotians

World Health Organization officials add that those are only the deaths directly from COVID. When they tally deaths that doctors could have otherwise prevented had COVID not exacerbated an existing condition, the count skyrockets to 14.9 million.

“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” says WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release.

In Nova Scotia, COVID-related worker shortages and overflowing wards mean many hospitals are now only doing urgent and emergency surgeries.  

“Surgical reductions are necessary to ensure sufficient inpatient bed capacity related to our COVID-19 response,” says Nova Scotia Health spokesman Brendan Elliott says. “Maintaining emergency services at our regional sites is a top priority and people requiring emergency care should not hesitate to visit, although waits may be long.”

Keith Corcoran has more for LighthouseNow.

Leina Deboer. Photo: Submitted

Pictou concert pays tribute to music legends
The Prelude to a Kiss concert tour visits Pictou on May 18, part of a 10-stop Nova Scotian tour celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole

Leina Deboer from British Columbia and James Rich of New York will show off their singing talent under the creative direction of the National Stage Company of Canada, based in British Columbia. Nova Scotian pianist Morrissey Dunn, drummer Michael Arbou, and bassist Cailun Campbell will share the stage.

“I like the way the music was written,” says producer Anthony James. “I like the message. I like the vibe of the whole scene. The show’s about sharing the music with a certain demographic that’s nostalgic … but also introducing this music and keeping (Fitzgerald’s and Cole’s) legacy going with a younger demographic.”

Kevin McBain reports for the Pictou Advocate.

Line changes
Largely the domain of white men, hockey is slowly diversifying, as more women, queer, and non-white players take up the sport. But barriers remain, and Saint Mary’s University researcher Cheryl MacDonald is studying how to overcome them.

“A lot of the former ways of doing things are no longer compatible with the goals and attitudes of folks who are coming up through the ranks, in charge, or the athletes as well,” she says. “We’re finding a lot — uncovering a lot of stories of misconduct. We’re having a lot of disagreements on how hockey should move forward in terms of who should be included, why or how. There will continue to be growing pains as we sort that out.”

Ameeta Vohra interviews her in the new issue of Unravel Halifax.

Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher. Photo: Submitted

Antigonish merger plans hit turbulence
Rumours of municipal job cuts are undermining talks to merge Antigonish’s town and county governments, according to local officials.

“We unanimously agreed to the process,” town mayor Laurie Boucher says. “It’s very unfortunate that we do have a few councillors who’re undermining the process by spreading misinformation … (being) very disrespectful and disingenuous (by talking) about staff losing their jobs.”

Drake Lowthers has the story for the Reporter.

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