Roundup: COVID at Northwood, child care centres staying open, exhibit explores link between nature & mental health, volunteer memorializes son with food drive, Guysborough 4-day work week a ‘win-win’

A photo from Trailings, an exhibit exploring the connection between nature and mental health. Photo: Sara Harley

Nova Scotia has 548 known active cases of COVID-19, with 70 new cases reported in the latest government update. Eleven people are currently hospitalized with the diseases, including three in ICU.

Among the infected is a worker at Northwood’s Halifax Campus, the long-term care home that was the site of a major outbreak last spring, killing 53 residents. “Residents are being isolated and cared for in their rooms,” says a government press release. “All residents, staff and designated care providers are being tested. Most residents have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.”

In yesterday’s media update, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, refused to answer when asked if the currently ill Northwood worker had been vaccinated.

As of April 27, Nova Scotian health care workers have dispensed 293,763 doses of COVID-19, with 35,549 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes inoculation.

So far, the pandemic has killed 67 people in Nova Scotia and 24,117 people across Canada.

Strang and Premier Iain Rankin are scheduled to webcast an update today at 3 p.m.

Derek Mombourquette

Child care subsidies for some families
The government also announced yesterday that regulated child care centres and licensed Family Home Child Care Agencies are staying open during the lockdown.

Government is asking families that don’t currently need the care to keep their children at home, though, saying they won’t be charged fees or lose their spots if they do so. Child care subsidies are available for families with income under $70,000.

“Child care is an important support for Nova Scotians as we work together to once again battle COVID-19 across our province,” early-childhood development minister Derek Mombourquette says in a press release. “Health care workers and others critical to helping us all through this wave need the support of the sector.”

Unregulated and unlicensed child-care providers (such as a babysitting relative or neighbour) can continue to follow regulated ratios for school-aged children: a maximum of eight kids per caregiver, and six kids per caregiver for younger age groups.

Masking is required, but children age two to four are exempt.

Volunteer memorializes son with food drive
After Michelle MacNeil Worthen’s son Nick died in August at age 28, the Pictou County Food Bank volunteer realized a food drive was the ideal way to honour his memory.

“He was a very giving and a very thoughtful man,” she says. “He was a chef; he loved to cook, loved to feed people and take care of people.”

Learn more, and how you can contribute, in this Raissa Tetanish story for The Pictou Advocate.

Photo: Sara Harley

The link between nature and mental health
As the pandemic drags on, more people are appreciating local nature trails and green spaces as safe places to exercise and de-stress.

Photographer Sara Harley explores the link between nature and mental health in her exhibition Trailings, which is scheduled to be at the Margaret Hennigar Library in Bridgewater until May 31 (although with the library currently closed due to the lockdown, that schedule might change).

“What I tried to capture with this Trailings exhibit were the … close-ups of landscapes,” Harley says. “Photographers call them intimate landscapes. It’s details many people might overlook, but I find fascinating, and I find much more interesting than, you know, a pretty landscape.”

Gayle Wilson reports for LighthouseNow.

Guysborough sticks with four-day work week
After a successful experiment with a four-day work week for civic employees, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough plans to make the change permanent. Compressing the same amount of labour into fewer days is more efficient, explains Warden Vernon Pitts.

“We’re getting more bang for our buck, hourly-wise, labour-wise, so it’s good-good all around,” he says, pointing to the example of public-works crews. “Before, they’d have an hour loading the truck, an hour driving, an hour unloading, this way here we’re getting a couple extra hours of work [on the job site] each day from each of our employees, which is win-win for everybody.”

Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

Turgay Erdogan (left) and Zeliha Yahsi

Turkish culinary comfort
For Zeliha Yahsi and Turgay Erdogan, the owners of Efes Turkish Cuisine on Spring Garden Road, the hardest part of the pandemic has been closing the dining room and no longer being able to be a part of diners’ celebrations.

But despite the difficulties of the past year, Yahsi is optimistic. They’re currently offering takeout and are grateful for customers’ ongoing support. They’ve recently hired another chef, and they hope to add new Turkish dishes for people to try.

“We can do it,” Yahsi says. “It’s a hard business, but we will try our best.”

Darrell Roberts interviews the restaurateurs for Halifax Magazine.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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