Roundup: Care homes scramble for workers, Michelin plans Bridgewater expansion, the fight to preserve our green spaces and coastal treasures

Halifax Common. Photo: Submitted

Plus: You might be tired of COVID, but it’s not tired of you — the disease continues to spread locally and around the globe

As the pandemic continues, Nova Scotia’s long-term care homes are scrambling for staff. Smaller facilities, like Maritime Odd Fellows Home in Pictou, are particularly challenged. CEO Mike Archibald says many potential workers have retired or left the industry, and about 30 per cent of his team has fallen ill during the pandemic.

“It’s fortunate staff didn’t get COVID at the same time,” he adds. “It’s always challenging to determine how many staff is getting the virus at work versus at home … We have maintained the required staff, but there has been overtime and double shifts.”

Steve Goodwin reports for the Pictou Advocate.

The World Health Organization reports 519,522 new COVID cases globally in the last 24 hours.

The real number of ill people is likely much higher though, as many jurisdictions (including Nova Scotia) are withholding daily data, making it impossible to get a full picture of the disease’s spread.

Dr. Tara Moriarty, director of an infectious diseases research laboratory and professor at the University of Toronto medical school, recently estimates that as of Apr. 20 Nova Scotia had about 24,000 new cases per day.

So far, COVID is known to have has killed 6,249,700 people worldwide, including 39,485 people in Canada and 314 Nova Scotians. World Health Organization officials add that those are only the deaths directly from COVID. When they tally deaths that doctors could have otherwise prevented had COVID not exacerbated an existing condition, the toll skyrockets to 14.9 million.

Pauline Dakin

The common good
A green oasis in the heart of the peninsula, Halifax Common is central to the city and its identity. But like green spaces across Canada, it’s shrinking.

“One of my favourite views of Halifax is from Citadel Hill, looking not out to the harbour, but west over the city, especially at dusk,” says columnist Pauline Dakin.  “Now, cranes and construction projects crowd that skyline. As we look up at the new towers emerging around us, we might not be noticing what’s disappearing.” 

According to Statistics Canada, cities are losing trees, park space, and other vegetation at a prodigious rate: in 2019, there was a decline of three per cent. The next time researchers look, there will be even less green on those satellite images, given the unprecedented pace of development in the city. 

“That may mean progress, but the cost is high,” Dakin says.

Read more in her latest Unravel Halifax column.

Urban green spaces aren’t the only ones under siege. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has been working for decades to preserve Nova Scotia’s coastal and sylvan treasures. In this recent Saltscapes story, Katharine Mott explores the charity’s work on the Eastern Shore, protecting the 100 Wild Islands coastal wilderness.

Michelin plans expansion
The municipal government and Michelin management have agreed to a development allowing the company to add 3,200 square metres to its Bridgewater factory.

“An addition to our Bridgewater plant will allow for the installation of new equipment used in the tire building process, ensuring we are well-positioned to meet future market needs,” Michelin spokesperson Nicolle Vuotto says in an email. She estimates the factory will need 10 to 15 more workers when the project is done.

Keith Corcoran has the story for LighthouseNow.

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