Roundup: COVID ticking down, Dr. Barrett on the importance of testing, Pictou Co. man among 20 feted Nova Scotians, ‘sober curious’ movement grows

"Online Class," a mural created by 25 Liverpool students. Photo: Submitted

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 numbers continue to move in the right direction, according to Premier Iain Rankin.

“Another day with a low case count is promising,” he says in the latest government update. “This is a trend we want to see continue as we look forward to reopening our province. Vaccination is a key part of our way forward.”

Nova Scotia has 140 known active cases, with eight new cases and 11 recoveries reported yesterday. Four of the new cases are in the Central Zone, where health officials say there continues to be community spread. Ten people are currently hospitalized in COVID-19 units, including six in ICU.

So far, the pandemic has killed 89 Nova Scotians and 25,931 people across Canada.

Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, are scheduled to webcast an update tomorrow at 3 p.m.

Dr. Lisa Barrett. Photo: Submitted

Testing in the workplace
On Friday, provincial officials announced plans to expand its asymptomatic testing strategy with a new COVID-19 rapid screening program, which aims to help employers regularly screen workers for the disease.

The government says so far 275 businesses and organizations representing more than 50,000 workers have signed up.

“Regular, no-symptom COVID testing … is an important tool to prevent surges in COVID cases,” Dr. Lisa Barrett, viral immunologist with Nova Scotia Health, says in a press release. “Along with vaccines, making sure people have easy access to testing helps them establish a regular schedule. Pop-up sites are a key testing option.”

For more about Barrett and her work, see this Halifax Magazine interview with Ameeta Vohra, originally published May 2021.

Twenty Nova Scotians awarded for community service
Stellarton’s Kevin Patrick Del Val is among 20 people to earn the Dr. Robert Strang Community Service Award, recognizing people who have raised spirits and helped people cope with the pandemic.

Del Val is originally from the Philippines. At the height of the pandemic, his grandmother died and he was unable to go home and grieve with his family.

“I got depressed for a couple of days, then picked myself and started asking ‘What would Grandma tell me if she was still alive?'” he recalls. “That’s where I started going back to making videos again. I started helping local churches … with their livestreams.”

Steven Goodwin reports for The Pictou Advocate.

Photo: Submitted

Student mural brightens downtown Liverpool
Twenty-five Liverpool art students have pooled their talents for “Online Class,” a colourful new mural at the corner of Jubilee and Main streets.

The project began when Peter MacWhirter approached the high school, asking if students would like to create a mural for the wall of his Andora Gallery & Studios building.

“I thought it was a great idea, absolutely,” says arts teacher Libby Broadbent. “I love doing those kinds of big projects with my kids … The school is always willing to do anything for the community, and another mural is a possibility, but it is a lot of work to accomplish those types of projects.”

Kevin McBain has the story for LighthouseNow.

“Sober curious” movement grows
After 15 months of lockdown and pandemics, many people are looking to cut back on their alcohol consumption, and are considering the “sober curious” lifestyle.

Being sober curious is like hitting a reset button.

“The buzzwords are an invitation to experience how good life could be without booze for a while,” explains Karen Kerr. “It changes the conversation away from addiction to the rest of us drinkers and the benefit that time away could have on our physical and mental health. Being sober curious isn’t for a person with a serious drinking problem or physical dependency. For some people, total sobriety is only the solution. But for many of us, a simple cutting back can have a huge impact.”

Kerr shares her firsthand experiences in this new story from the new issue of East Coast Living.

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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