Roundup: COVID update, powerful synthetic opiate resurfaces in Lunenburg Co., Inverness Council investigates fire-fighting options, Death Café demystifies difficult conversations

Mural: Jason Skinner

Plus: A self-guided downtown art tour showcases Halifax talents

Nova Scotia is expending eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination boosters, as per the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s guidelines, according to an announcement yesterday. The plan is to expand eligibility for boosters starting with health-care workers and people age 60 and up.

Some people at greater risk of severe infection are already eligible for boosters, as are people age 70 and older, and people who are immunocompromised.

Nova Scotia has 147 known actives cases of COVID-19, with 22 new cases and 27 recoveries reported in the latest update. Eleven people are hospitalized with the disease, including four in ICU.

Eighteen of the new cases are in the Central Zone, and the remainder in the Northern. “There is a cluster of cases in a localized community in Northern Zone and there is also evidence of limited community spread in Halifax and parts of northern Nova Scotia,” says the press release.

Andy W. Hakin

There are also fears of more new cases coming from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, where a spate of parties and gatherings (both approved and unauthorized), have triggered an outbreak, with 12 people testing positive so far.

“We know that news of these new cases will cause anxiety,” says university president Andy W. Hakin in a statement posted on Facebook. “University officials continue to work closely with Public Health to monitor the overall status of the outbreak … The university continues to take its lead from their direction.”

The government also announced four more school exposures yesterday, all in the Halifax area: École Beaubassin, Basinview Drive Community School, Joseph Howe Elementary, and Tantallon Senior Elementary.

Spotlighting local artists
The result of an ongoing program to beautify the downtown, the Self-Guided Downtown Art Tour showcases murals and local installations throughout the neighbourhood. Among the featured talents is local illustrator, painter, chalker, and “community artist” Jason Skinner.

Learn more in the new issue of Unravel Halifax.

Powerful synthetic opiate resurfaces in Lunenburg County
The RCMP is warning the public about the rare discovery of a powerful synthetic opiate in Lunenburg County, the kind that can kill a person with a dose equal to a few grains of salt.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Chris Marshall says the appearance of the drug fentanyl is in a form unfamiliar to investigators, and looks like purple Play-Doh. A test indicated the presence of fentanyl, and officers sent a sample to Health Canada for confirmation.

“We found a little,” Marshall said. “We’re talking a few grams.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Catherine Gillis

Inverness Council investigates dry fire-fighting options
Inverness Municipal Council is looking to improve its ability to fight fires in areas without standard fire hydrants.

During a recent meeting, Councillor Catherine Gillis shared concerns from three local volunteer fire chiefs.

“They’re looking for consideration because there are areas of their fire department districts that they feel are underserved,” she says. “The solution to the situation could be improved by working dry hydrants. A dry hydrant is basically where they can fill-up the pumper truck from a brook, or a river.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Death Café demystifies difficult conversations
The Pictou County Palliative Care Society is continuing to help people feel more comfortable talking about dying, recently hosting a Death Café.

“Death Café is a model that started about 10 years ago now,” says facilitator Kim Aylesworth. “It’s a way for people to come together in a very casual, comfortable safe space. You’re sitting over coffee as you would with a friend. You’re coming together to sit and chat about death, what are your experiences, what are your concerns … It’s a very unstructured and participant-driven event.”

Raissa Tetanish has the story for The Pictou Advocate.

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