Roundup: Another day with no new cases, gov funds for new biz, growing green thumbs, South Shore heart clinic closed

Yesterday, an upbeat Premier Stephen McNeil announced another good day in the province’s fight against the pandemic. “It is another good day in Nova Scotia with no new cases of COVID-19 to report,” he says in the latest update. “As we continue to ease the restrictions and reopen our province, I encourage all Nova Scotians to get outside, think local, buy local, stay safe and stay strong.”

So far, Nova Scotia has had 1,061 positive COVID-19 cases and 62 deaths. There are currently four known cases in the province, with two people in hospital, including one in ICU. Some 995 people have recovered.

Government money to help new business
The provincial government announced yesterday that it’s spending $750,000 to help startup businesses take opportunities emerging from COVID-19. Business incubators Volta, Ignite, and the Organization for Nova Scotia Innovation-Driven Enterprise will get money to help new businesses launch. Funding through Innovacorp will go to startups in Cape Breton.

“COVID-19 has had a big impact on existing industry and startups,” says business minister Geoff MacLellan. “New startups and innovation-driven entrepreneurs will play an important role in restarting the economy.”

Business incubators help startup companies through support services, such as physical space, access to technology, coaching, shared services, and networking. See the story in The Reporter.

Jenni Hayman

University without the classroom
When classes resume at local universities, they’ll mostly be online and students are wondering if they’ll get their money’s worth. “I’ve never taken a university course online, so I have no idea how it’s going to go for me,” says Jasmyn Suelzle, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student at Dal. “It’s a very hands-on program. A lot of it is learning by seeing and doing… My quality of learning is going to change.”

In this new Halifax Magazine feature by Gabbie Douglas, online learning expert Jenni Hayman urges students to think hard about their options. “Students need to advocate for themselves in this moment and decide whether or not online learning is for them,” she says. “If they don’t have access to computers and good Internet access, then they need to demand… access to that, because otherwise they’re at a disadvantage getting back to work.”

Growing green thumbs
Interest in gardening has exploded this spring (see this recent Halifax Magazine feature by Victoria Walton), and local groups are harvesting lots of new supporters. Organizers with the Pictou and Area Garden Club feared they’d have to cancel their annual plant sale, which funds the club and its student bursaries.

As public-health restrictions eased, they decided to go ahead with the event. The results were a pleasant surprise. “Normally we raise from $900 to as much as $1,400,” says club member Beth Henderson. “This year we raised more than $2,341. And all of that allows us to continue the good work we do in the community.” Jackie Jardine reports for The Pictou Advocate.

Bridgewater heart clinic closed since January
Nicole Nickerson of Middle LaHave survived two heart attacks in her 30s and she’s dismayed that the heart clinic at the Bridgewater hospital has closed. She credits it with helping to save her life. “We’re losing so many services here on the South Shore and this is something that we really, really need because of the high rates of cardiac disease,” she says. “And I know how much it helped me.”

Nova Scotia Health Authority spokesman Brendan Elliot says the clinic closed because a nurse practitioner accepted another position. He adds that the NSHA is trying to find a replacement and hopes to reopen the clinic soon. It’s been closed since January. Gayle Wilson has the details in this LighthouseNow story.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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