Roundup: COVID closes Beechville school, long-time Guysborough councillor dies, worker hospitalized after paving accident, Pictou Co. driver faces multiple charges

Plus: When people are scared, truth is the first casualty — lessons from the Halifax Explosion

After announcing several COVID-19 exposures at the school in recent weeks, health officials are closing Beechville Lakeside Timberlea Senior Elementary, which serves grades two to five. According to a government press release, the school will stay closed until at least Dec. 10.

Vaccination update
The vast majority of Nova Scotian public employees covered by the provincial vaccination mandate are now inoculated against COVID, according to the latest provincial update.

Of those reporting, 99.2 per cent of 58,519 frontline workers in health care, continuing care, emergency health services, education, and other sectors that work with vulnerable Nova Scotians have at least one dose of vaccine, and 97.0 per cent are fully vaccinated.

There are 960 employees, or 1.3 per cent of the full workforce in those sectors, now on unpaid leave because they are unvaccinated or didn’t report their status.

Among civil servants who have reported their vaccination status, 99.1 per cent have at least one dose, and 97.2 per cent are fully vaccinated. There are 93 civil servants now on unpaid leave because they aren’t vaccinated or didn’t report.

Premier Tim Houston. Photo: Communications N.S.

“I am very proud of the Nova Scotians who stepped up to ensure the people they serve are well-protected from this virus, especially given there is now a new variant of concern,” Premier Tim Houston says in a press release. “The civil service also showed its dedication to the people of the province with a very high rate of vaccination. The few in both mandates who didn’t get vaccinated have made their choice … They are no longer in the workplace … They won’t be putting patients, students, seniors, and other vulnerable people at risk.”

The latest provincial statistics once again show how vaccination reduces death and serious illness from COVID.

From Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, Nova Scotia had 98 known cases of COVID-19:

  • 34 (34.7 per cent) were fully vaccinated,
  • Two (2.0 per cent) were partially vaccinated,
  • 62 (63.3 per cent) were unvaccinated.

There were 6,683 known cases from March 15 to Dec. 2:

  • 716 (10.7 per cent) were fully vaccinated,
  • 405 (6.1 per cent) were partially vaccinated,
  • 5,562 (83.2 per cent) were unvaccinated.

During the same period, 336 people were hospitalized with the disease:

  • 22 (6.5 per cent) were fully vaccinated,
  • 33 (9.8 per cent) were partially vaccinated,
  • 281 (83.6 per cent) were unvaccinated.

COVID killed 44 people over this time:

  • 11 (25.0 per cent) were fully vaccinated,
  • Three (6.8 per cent) were partially vaccinated,
  • 30 (68.2 per cent) were unvaccinated.

Truth is the first casualty
A lot of the blame for the 1917 Halifax Explosion goes to a navigational error, but people didn’t see that at the time.

In the rush to understand the tragedy, wild rumours grew. On Dec. 7, the day after the explosion, Honolulu Star-Bulletin editor Riley H. Allen told readers the disaster wasn’t an accident. He pointed to enemies that wanted to cripple the allied war effort. Using inconclusive information and hearsay from wire reports, Allen maintained the ships involved were innocent, but were pawns in someone’s “diabolic scheme.”

He added that other ports, like Honolulu, could also be at risk, adding to the rising speculation about what had happened in Halifax.

Allen didn’t have any information to verify those claims, but that didn’t stop him from making them. He wasn’t the only one to speculate, and his claims weren’t the most outlandish.

And human nature hasn’t changed much since then: the parallels to today’s COVID misinformation are obvious. In this archive story, Katie Ingram looks at the falsehoods that followed the Halifax Explosion — some still repeated today.

Rickey McLaren

Long-time Guysborough councillor dies
Councillor Rickey McLaren — who was in the midst of his third term representing Goldboro, Isaac’s Harbour, and Country Harbour on Guysborough District council — passed away last month at age 73.

First elected in 2012, McLaren came to government after a long business career running a pulpwood company.

“His legacy is the love that he gave to all those around him and that remains with us,” his obituary reads. “He was the most loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend.”

Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

Worker hospitalized after paving accident
A member of the paving crew working on Trunk 3 near Liverpool was hospitalized after an on-the-job accident last month.

“During a paving operation an employee became caught between two pieces of work equipment,” labour department spokesperson Khalehla Perrault says in an email. “The employee was transported to Queens General Hospital and was released the next morning with minor injuries … No violations of the OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) Act were noted.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Pictou County driver faces multiple charges
A 21-year-old from Pictou County is appearing in court today to answer multiple charges after a New Glasgow Police officer on routine patrol spotted someone driving a motorbike recklessly, speeding and ignoring stop signs before “losing control” on Marsh Street.

The accused faces charges of:

  • Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle,
  • Breach of probation (two counts),
  • Possession of stolen property (motorbike),
  • Resisting and obstructing police,
  • Refusal of an alcohol screening device.

The Pictou Advocate has the story.

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