Roundup: 3 COVID deaths, Pictou Landing man charged as accessory to murder, Celtic Colours considers future, funds for South Shore entrepreneurs

Dancers at a pre-pandemic edition of the Celtic Colours festival. Photo: Submitted

Plus: Upwards from here — renters won’t see a difference for a while, but more apartments and homes are coming to Halifax

COVID-19 has killed three more Nova Scotians, according to the latest government update. The victims are a woman in her 50s from the Central Zone, a man in his 70s from the Eastern Zone, and a woman in her 70s from the Northern Zone. So far, COVID has killed 124 people in Nova Scotia and 32,008 across Canada.

Health officials estimate there are 5,430 active cases of COVID in the province, with 696 new lab-confirmed cases reported yesterday. But those numbers don’t reflect COVID’s true extent. Houston’s government stopped widespread testing and follow-up, saying that the pervasiveness of the Omicron strain requires focusing on vulnerable areas like hospitals. Nova Scotia Health is now asking people to self-report their test results to “collect information to help quickly identify people who are eligible for and may benefit from COVID-19 medications and treatments.”

Health officials also reported 18 new hospital admissions and five discharges yesterday, for a total of 85 people hospitalized for COVID and getting treatment in specialized units, including 12 in ICU. There are also 72 people who were admitted to hospital for another reason but tested positive for COVID (or were in a COVID unit but no longer require specialized care), and 112 who contracted the disease in hospital.

Charges in Truro killing
A Pictou Landing man faces multiple charges, including accessory to murder, as police investigate the September 2021 killing of Prabhjot Singh Katri. Truro police arrested 22-year-old Marcus Michael Denny during a Jan. 19 traffic stop.

The Pictou Advocate has more.

Neil Lovitt

Halifax housing snapshot
With Premier Tim Houston’s expectation that Nova Scotia’s population will more than double to two million by 2060, Halifax homebuilders and residential real-estate developers better get building.

Cranes on the skyline and holes in the ground might have created the illusion of a building boom over the past decade. But the actual number of housing units constructed each year hasn’t changed much in the last two decades, until 2021.

Halifax could be at the start of a period of sustained production that’s consistently higher than previous peaks, “finally catching up with the population growth numbers, which have been in unprecedented territory for about five years now,” says local housing expert Neil Lovitt. “With continued low vacancy rates and plenty of buyers for every listing, the trend will hopefully continue.”

Janet Whitman reports for Unravel Halifax.

Celtic Colours organizers consider options
After two years of pandemic uncertainty, the organizers of Cape Breton’s annual autumn Celtic Colours festival are looking for a new CEO and pondering what the event’s future will look like.

“At this point, we are working towards building what an in-person festival may look like for 2022, while recognizing the uncertainties that may impact presenting such an event,” executive director Mike MacSween says in an email. “We would love to be able to welcome everyone back to Cape Breton Island for the full, in-person Celtic Colours experience, but we also know what we’re capable of delivering virtually, based on the past two years.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Funding South Shore entrepreneurs
The Lunenburg County Community Fund is working with a local foundation to establish a new micro lending fund for budding entrepreneurs in the area.

The Lunenburg County Micro Lending Fund will provide money for small-business owners, focusing on loans of up to $10,000 to help establish and grow their operations. “This model brings philanthropy and economic development together to drive sustainable social good and is one of the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada,” organizers say in a press release.

Gayle Wilson has details for LighthouseNow.

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