Roundup: 4 COVID deaths, guide-dog-in-training rescued after 40 hours lost in woods, walking for unhoused kids, fishermen fight to sell licences

Chestnut, a 12-week-old guide dong in training, went missing for more than 40 hours in the Greenfield area after fireworks caused her to bolt. Photo: Submitted

Plus: Canadian Politics Is Boring — a recent immigrant’s podcast delves into his new country’s government

COVID-19 has killed four more Nova Scotians, according to the latest government update. Three victims — a man in his 40s, a man in his 70s, and a woman in her 90s — are from the Central Zone. The fourth, a woman in her 80s, is from the Eastern Zone. The disease has now killed 117 people in Nova Scotia, and 31,530 across Canada.

“I’m saddened to learn that four more Nova Scotians lost their lives because of this virus,” Premier Tim Houston says in a press release. “We need to stay vigilant and minimize non-essential activities to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our province. We all have a part to play. We can do this by getting vaccinated as soon as possible, following public health measures, and reducing activities.”

There were 495 new “lab-confirmed” cases of COVID yesterday, and an estimated 5,736 active cases in the province. But those numbers don’t reflect COVID’s true extent. Houston’s government stopped widespread testing, saying that the pervasiveness of the omicron strain requires focusing on vulnerable areas like hospitals. That means many cases in the general population are now going unreported.

Health officials also reported 15 new hospital admissions and 12 discharges yesterday, for a total of 73 people hospitalized for COVID and getting treatment in specialized units, including 13 people in ICU. There are also 64 people who were admitted to hospital for another reason but tested positive for COVID (or no longer require specialized care), and 112 who contracted the disease in hospital.

Chestnut.

Guide-dog-in-training rescued
Chestnut, a 12-week-old Golden Retriever puppy being raised as a potential guide dog for people with vision loss, was found safe in Queens County 41 hours after fireworks sent her fleeing into the forest.

Laura Kennedy, who supervises CNIB’s dog-training program, says the incident raises more concerns despite the happy ending.

“Fireworks can cause a fair bit of stress and anxiety in dogs, mainly because they are so loud and unpredictable,” she explains. “Oftentimes you will notice a lot of panting, lip-licking, and some dogs may want to be right by your side, while others may kind of want to bolt … It’s not just an issue for dogs, but I’ve seen articles about how it may set off people suffering from PTSD and how it affects them.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Walking for the unhoused
Despite the pandemic, plans are underway for the Pictou County Roots for Youth Society’s annual Coldest Night of the Year walk in February. Organizers are hoping to raise $50,000 to help the Roots House shelter continue its worked with unhoused young people.

“When a youth comes here, people are under the impression they chose to live this way of life, they didn’t listen or follow the rules,” says Roots House executive director Angie Degaust. “We are a temporary shelter for youth. Usually, their situation is of no control of their own. They’re scared … They have not been in an environment like this. We start them with the programs they need, such as addictions, child protection, or employment. Our goal is for them to stay three months, but some youth are able to do this more quickly.”

Steve Goodwin has the story for the Pictou Advocate.

Fishermen fight to sell licences
A group of Cape Breton lobster fishermen are continuing to fight for the right to sell their valuable lobster licences.

Since 1976, the federal government has banned fishermen with “Class B” licences, worth up to $300,000, from selling them. (Other lobster licences are transferrable, often sold to fund retirement). A recent judicial review has given them hope.

“You now have an independent judge of the federal court saying that the position that’s been maintained by DFO over the last 50 years, today is no longer reasonable,” Cox & Palmer lawyer Michel Samson says. “And that DFO has to look at this policy, and has to look at the situation of these fishermen to determine whether … that’s still justified in 2022.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Jesse Harley (left) and Rhys Waters, the hosts of Canadian Politics Is Boring.

Podcast pick
Since immigrating to Canada, Rhys Waters struggled to learn about his new country’s politics and government. After unsatisfying attempts at self-education, he invited friend and local filmmaker Jess Harley to join him for Canadian Politics Is Boring, a very tongue-in-cheek podcast about how the country is governed.

The project has become one of the most popular Nova Scotian podcasts. Learn more in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax.

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