Roundup: COVID update, Crown attorneys overwhelmed, donations for Ukraine, New Glasgow police face wave of thefts, hockey teams back in action

The Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League resumed play last week.

Plus: The arrival of the Doukhobors — the pacifist farmers who fled imperial Russia for a better life in Canada

As Premier Tim Houston prepares to eliminate most public health protections against the disease over the next month, officials estimate there are 1,903 active cases of the COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, with 187 new lab-confirmed cases reported yesterday. But those numbers don’t reflect its true extent. Houston’s government recently stopped widespread testing and follow-up, saying that the pervasiveness of the Omicron strain requires focusing on vulnerable areas like hospitals.

Health officials also reported five new COVID hospitalizations and six discharges yesterday, for a total of 46 people getting treatment in specialized units, including 12 in ICU. There are also 134 people who were admitted to hospital for another reason but tested positive for COVID (or were in a COVID unit but no longer require specialized care), and 170 who contracted the disease in hospital.

Since the pandemic began, COVID has killed 191 people in Nova Scotia, and 36,254 across Canada.

Crown prosecutors feeling crunch
A combination of COVID impacts, staffing shortages, and high case counts are leaving Nova Scotian prosecutors overwhelmed, sometimes sending them into court unready.

“While case numbers do not seem to be rising significantly, legal complexity is rising along with the need to address matters adjourned due to the pandemic,” says now-retired N.S. Public Prosecution Service (PPS) director Martin Herschorn in a briefing note to Justice Minister Brad Johns. “While the PPS tries to allow equal time for preparation and for court, that is not always possible. Crown attorneys do not always have the appropriate amount of time for preparation before they go to court.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Donations for Ukraine
As the Russian war on democratic Ukraine continues, many Nova Scotians are wondering how they can help. It may not feel terribly heroic, but a donation to the Red Cross is likely one of the most tangible steps you can take.

“The International Committee of the Red Cross … remains active in Ukraine, saving and protecting the lives of victims of armed conflict and violence,” says a statement on the organization’s website. “Our neutral and impartial humanitarian action supports the most vulnerable people: humanitarian needs are enormous … Fear, freezing temperatures and an uncertain future are what families in Ukraine are facing.”

Learn more.

Police investigate Pictou County thefts
New Glasgow Regional Police are investigating 15 recent reports of thefts, including personal identification papers, from local automobiles. They say the thefts happened on Feb. 19 and 20 in the Westside neighbourhood.

“This is clearly a crime of opportunity, where criminals will focus on the unlocked vehicle rather than to focus attention on locked vehicles,” Const. Ken Macdonald says in a press release. 

The Pictou Advocate reports.

Doukhobor women and children. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Halifax’s immigration history: The Doukhobors
Protestant pacifists who lived communally and rejected materialism, the Doukhobors ran afoul of both church and state in their native Russia in the late 1890s. When persecution peaked in the empire’s dying days, they migrated en masse to Canada.

When they arrived in Halifax, many were ill with smallpox, so immigration officials quarantined them on Lawlor Island. Facing language barriers, unfamiliar food, and countless other obstacles, they made the best of their time here, forging relationships with the locals who stepped up to help them.

Dorothy Grant looks back in this Unravel Halifax historical report.

Hockey teams hit the ice
With public health protections easing and ending entirely soon, hockey teams and leagues around Nova Scotia have resumed play, hopeful of salvaging the season after two years of frequent delays, cancellations, and interruptions.

Among the first to hit the ice was the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League. The Reporter has an update on the latest action.

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