Roundup: Another hospital outbreak, health care premier’s 2022 priority, Native group acquires historic farm, Pictou rural internet upgrades underway

Screenshot from a video by the Ulnooweg Education Centre, celebrating its acquisition of Windhorse Farm.

Plus: Newcomers are keen to work, but the language barrier often holds them back

Forty-eight Nova Scotians are currently in hospital with COVID-19, including nine in ICU, according to the latest provincial government update. That number doesn’t include people who were admitted for other reasons and then tested positive for the disease. They range in age from 26 to 94.

Of that hospitalized group:

  • Four (8.3 per cent) people have had a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine,
  • 28 (58.3 per cent) are fully vaccinated (two doses),
  • Two (4.2 per cent) are partially vaccinated,
  • 14 (29.2 per cent) are unvaccinated.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) is reporting a new outbreak at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital, with “fewer than five patients” testing positive.

Meanwhile, outbreaks continue at three other hospitals.

  • Four additional patients at the Halifax Infirmary have tested positive, raising the total there to 16.
  • Six more patients have COVID in a ward at New Waterford Consolidated Hospital, for a total of 11 known cases.
  • Another case is confirmed at the Victoria General, for “fewer than five” known cases there.
Premier Tim Houston. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Health care tops premier’s list for 2022
Amid the pandemic’s ongoing disruptions, fixing the health-care system remains job one from Premier Tim Houston heading into 2022.

“If we want to grow the economy of the province, I’m very passionate about population growth as a tool for economic development and growth, government has to make sure people can access health care,” Houston says.

Serving as leader of the opposition to the Liberals for three years gave his Progressive Conservative Party time to read the pulse of Nova Scotians, he adds.

“We prided ourselves on really understanding the issues and only really talking about things that were possible and would make a difference,” he says. “The campaign platform that we ran on was the result of years of research. The ideas and solutions that we put forward in that platform same thing, it was stuff that we knew.”

Janet Whitman has more for The Reporter.

Native group acquires historic farm
Last month, in the spirit of reconciliation, the owners of the 81-hectare Windhorse Farm outside of Bridgewater finalized an arrangement that would see their historic property, which has been in the hands of settlers for nearly two centuries, returned to the Mi’kmaq.

Through a combination of purchase and gift, the Dreschers transferred ownership of Windhorse Farm to the Ulnooweg Education Centre, a Halifax-based, Indigenous-led charity that aims to empower Indigenous communities through education programs, collaborative research, and development.

“We greatly appreciate their desire to return this land into the care of the Mi’kmaq,” Chris Googoo, Ulnooweg Education Centre’s chief operating officer, says in a news release. “Through our efforts to conciliate with the settler population, we aim to reconcile with Mother Nature and give hope for future generations. Windhorse Farm will provide meaningful programming through land-based healing and educational programs.”

Gayle Wilson reports for LighthouseNow.

The mother tongue
Somim Park was a nurse in her native South Korea, and would like to do the same work in Halifax, where her skills are much in demand. But since immigrating, she’s discovered the language barrier is far bigger than she expected.

“My biggest problem is speaking,” she says. “I’m not sure which words to use. People often misunderstand me or become offended when I speak to them. When I take a long time to answer their questions, they lose interest in me and go away. All this makes me very sad.”

In the new issue of Unravel Halifax, she tells Marianne Simon about her difficult transition and her work to resume her career.

Pictou rural internet upgrades underway
Construction has finally begun on Pictou County’s long-awaited rural internet improvements. The municipality aims to eventually have three high-speed providers serving the area.

“Some of the providers … like a tech-savvy Purple Cow, they’re located in Halifax at the Halifax Internet Exchange, so onboarding them would be a cross connect in Halifax, where some of the other ones will be here and would put their equipment here in our control room,” says Pictou County CAO Brian Cullen. “The packages would include information on things such as what could be purchased from the municipality and how much would be purchased, in terms of bandwidth.”

Raissa Tetanish has more for The Pictou Advocate.

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