Roundup: COVID testing improvements, date set for Dwight Austin Isadore murder trial, teen captures Army Cadets’ top honour, Portapique artist shares N.S.’s beauty

Premier MacNeil and Dr. Strang. Photo: Communications N.S.

As of yesterday (Oct. 6), Nova Scotia still has just three known cases of COVID-19, according to the latest government update. So far, Nova Scotia has had 98,110 negative test results, 1,089 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 65 deaths.

Coast to coast, the federal government reports 17,799 known cases of COVID: 14 in the Atlantic bubble and 17,785 in the rest of Canada.

Expanding COVID testing
Premier Stephen McNeil announced yesterday that the province is increasing its COVID-19 testing capacity. “These changes will allow people to be tested easier and faster,” he says in a press release.

The IWK Health Centre is doubling its capacity and increasing the speed of testing for children. The IWK will also start using the gargle test to diagnose COVID-19 in children ages four to 18.

The government is also shifting to online booking for testing appointments, with the promise: “it will dramatically reduce the wait time to book an appointment. The online process will take about 10 minutes, down from 24 to 48 hours.”

“Testing is a key part of our overall COVID-19 response,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “It can be easy to not want to get a test or wear a mask if you think there’s no virus here. In fact, it is just as important as ever.”

Cassidy Bernard

Trial coming for Cassidy Bernard’s accused killer
Dwight Austin Isadore will face trial by judge and jury in Port Hawkesbury next month for the murder of Cassidy Bernard, the 22-year-old mother of his twin daughters.

The October 2018 killing left Wagmatcook First Nation in Cape Breton reeling, pledging a $100,000 reward for information that brings the killer to justice. With community help, Bernard’s mother is now raising the twins. Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

Nova Scotian teen wins top Army Cadet honour
Sara Greenough from Lunenburg County recently became the first Nova Scotian to earn the General Walsh Commemorative Sword, the top honour for a Canadian Army Cadet.

“It fills me with pride… to show that even though we are a small province we have amazing youth capable of doing amazing things,” she says, adding that being a cadet opened up a new world for her. “These opportunities are open to everyone who has the will to try and put the effort into the program.” Keith Corcoran has her story in LighthouseNow.

Joy Laking. Photo: Submitted

Joy Laking celebrates Nova Scotia
Artist Joy Laking’s hallmark has been always been her ability to find and share the East Coast’s beauty. When a gunman struck last spring in her home village of Portapique, killing several of her friends and neighbours, she couldn’t see that natural purity anymore.

But now, reflecting on her new book—20 years in the making and further delayed by the pandemic—she sees the darkness fading. The Painted Province, Nova Scotia through an artist’s eyes, from Nimbus Publishing, features some 200 of her paintings from around the province. “The point of this book is for readers to take a look at their own beauty around them,” she says. Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

A simple way to make roads safer
When a driver hits a pedestrian, it usually happens in a crosswalk, according to Halifax Regional Police’s monthly statistics. In the latest instalment (for August), 75% of driver-pedestrian collisions were in crosswalks.

Urban planners continue to tinker with design to try to make streets safer, but there’s a simple step we could take right now, without the need for more research or expensive rebuilding projects: enforce existing crosswalk laws.

Did you know that every intersection has a crosswalk, whether it’s marked or not? “Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all intersections, whether crosswalks are marked or unmarked,” says the Nova Scotia Drivers Handbook. “At intersections without traffic signals, pedestrians have the right of way if they are in marked crosswalks or in unmarked crosswalks formed by imaginary lines extending across the streets.”

If you knew that and already stop for people at unmarked crosswalks, congratulations! You’re part of a very small club that includes you and approximately three other drivers.

For more, see this editorial I wrote for Halifax Magazine in March 2017.

Need to know
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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