Roundup: 4 more COVID deaths, rural mailboxes often inaccessible, driver admits admits guilt in fatal 2019 crash, calls to expand insulin pump program

Joel Plaskett recently launched 44, his latest album.

Plus: With his new album, singer Joel Plaskett contemplates middle age, life’s journeys, and our emergence from the pandemic

COVID-19 has killed four more Nova Scotians, according to the latest update from provincial health officials: a woman in her 50s and a man in his 90s from the Central Zone, a man in his 80s from the Western Zone, and a man in his 90s from the Eastern Zone.

As he prepares to lift Nova Scotia’s remaining pandemic protections later this month, Premier Tim Houston offers his sympathy to the victims’ families.

“It is sad to be entering a new month, the beginning of spring, and we’re still seeing deaths from this virus,” he says in a press release. “Please get vaccinated and get boosted, if not for yourself, then for your loved ones so we don’t see any more deaths in our province.”

Since the pandemic began, COVID has killed 206 Nova Scotians and 36,729 people across Canada

Health officials estimate there are 2,247 active cases of the disease in Nova Scotia, with 362 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.

Health officials also reported four new COVID hospitalizations and two discharges yesterday, for a total of 45 people getting treatment in specialized units, including 12 in ICU. There are also 123 people who were admitted to hospital for other reasons but tested positive for COVID (or were in a COVID unit but no longer require specialized care), and 166 who contracted the disease in hospital.

Joel Plaskett on life’s journeys
With contemplative-yet-catchy songs like “Through and Through and Through” and “Work Out Fine,” Dartmouth singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett became the spokesman for a whole generation of Nova Scotians as they navigate life’s oft-baffling road.

With his latest album, 44, Plaskett ruminates on middle age, emerging from the pandemic, and the changes that have been forced upon us. The perspective has changed, but the sense of place is stronger than ever.

“I remember listening to Bruce Springsteen at this live performance of ‘Rosalita,’ which was 11 minutes long and really celebratory, and I realized that what I really liked about him as a writer, was the sense of New Jersey he had in his music,” he says. “And I wasn’t really out to imitate that, but I recognized a parallel there, this sort of melancholy sense of place. When I would reference, say, the Dartmouth ferry, I was really digging in my heels, saying that this was a song for back home. But I also think the universal lies in the idiosyncratic, and that it’s an easier place for me to be.”

Read his exclusive interview with Keah Hansen in the new issue of Unravel Halifax.

Rural mailboxes often inaccessible
If you live in an area served by Canada Post’s community mailboxes, you already know the story of winter service: the boxes are often dangerous to approach due to uncleared snow and ice, and when you do get to them, you’ll discover that they’re frequently frozen shut, leaving your mail unreachable for days at a time.

“The inclement weather conditions and freezing rain have created many challenges,” says Canada Post spokesperson Hayley Magermans. “Canada Post is responsible for the maintenance of all its community mailboxes, and this a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Rural residents are skeptical, though, saying the problem has been going on for years, long predating the recent foul weather.

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Driver admits guilt in fatal crash
Two years ago, 71-year-old Linda Fraser was a passenger in a car on Hwy. 12 in Lunenburg County, when an oncoming driver crossed the centre line and struck the vehicle head-on, causing injuries that lead to her death.

On Feb. 17, 26-year-old Alysha Dawn Kennedy from Gold River plead guilty to criminal negligence causing death, and is now awaiting sentencing. She returns to court in April to face charges of illegally transporting cannabis and operating an uninsured and unregistered vehicle.

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Calls to expand insulin pump program
The provincial government’s program to provide insulin pumps for Nova Scotians with diabetes currently cuts off at age 25, but if Leah Sutherland and the hundreds of people who have signed her petition have their way, that will soon change.

She started the campaign over concerns for her daughters, who both need insulin injections and are about to age out of the program.

“The insulin pump is not a luxury,” she says. “There’s the constant worry of insulin management. People in the program need the program. When they hit 25, they just age out … It’s simply not fair.”

Steven Goodwin has the story for the Pictou Advocate.

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