Roundup: 3 COVID deaths, South Shore mayor praises vax after recovery, 40 years since tragic explosion, Pictou Co. author publishes 19th book
Advocates of Truth. Photo: Submitted
Plus: Meet the rising stars transforming Halifax’s musical scene
COVID-19 has killed three more Nova Scotians, according to the latest government update. The victims are a woman in her 60s from Central Zone, a woman in her 70s from the Western Zone, and a woman in her 70s from the Eastern Zone.
“There is nothing anyone can say to comfort the families and friends who are grieving,” Premier Tim Houston says in a press release. “This virus continues to have devastating impacts … Get vaccinated and follow the public health measures to protect yourself and those around you.”
Health officials estimate there are 3,306 active cases of COVID in Nova Scotia, with 313 new lab-confirmed cases reported yesterday. But those numbers don’t reflect COVID’s true extent. Houston’s government recently 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 10 new hospital admissions and six discharges yesterday, for a total of 91 people hospitalized for COVID and getting treatment in specialized units, including 12 in ICU. There are also 137 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 146 who contracted the disease in hospital.
Lunenburg mayor recovers
Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, mayor of the Lunenburg district municipality, is recovering from a nasty bout of COVID-19. “I can’t say my symptoms were mild. The cough was awful,” she says. “I had some shortness of breath.”
She credits her speedy recovery to her decision to get the booster in December. “I’m a firm believer in vaccinations,” she says. “It would be hard to convince me that didn’t help.”
40 years since tragic explosion
Forty years ago today, workers at the pulp and paper mill in Point Tupper were conducting routine maintenance when an explosion in the plant’s nitric acid storage tank ripped through the building, filling it with toxic fumes.
Two workers died in the immediate blast, and three more would succumb to chemical burns and respiratory damage in the following days.
The accident resulted from a dangerous attempt to clean equipment without shutting the plant down, mingling water and nitric acid. Power engineer technologist John Dan “Smoky” MacNeil and had warned coworkers about the plan.
“I was water treatment operator at the time,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Guys we’re blowing the place up if we’re going to try to do that.’ I told a couple of guys that were working that day that were putting the barrels of acid in, ‘if you guys are involved in that, just tell them you’re going home, that you want no part of that.’”
It’s long been a struggle for non-white musicians to get their fair share of opportunities in Halifax — performers who don’t fit the usual rock, country, or Celtic templates struggle for backers, airtime, and performance opportunities. But a shift is underway.
Originally from Congo, Advocates of Truth — fronted by brother duo Moses “Rajab Ally” and Galina “Gallyna” Korongo — came to Halifax nearly six years ago, fleeing violence at home. “We mix everything,” says Rajab, who was primarily a hip-hop performer. “R&B, hip-hop, jazz, whatever. Everything.” Gallyna brings his sweet R&B flavours, seasoned by years showing off in church, to the group.
The audience has always been out there, but getting in front of it has been the challenge.
“The diversity of the province is starting to open up,” says Rajab. “They reach out to us now, which is really cool. When we were starting, it wasn’t that way.”
Author publishes 19th book
Clyde Macdonald has self-published his 19th book.
Pictonians At Home and Afar is a wide-ranging account of local history and personalities, with topics including First World War flying ace Drummond Matheson of New Glasgow, a royal visit to Pictou County, and the historic election that brought Brian Mulroney to power.
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