Roundup: ‘Historic levels of illness’ says IWK top doc, school workers celebrate successful strike, Inverness Co. credit union faces uncertainty

Pediatrics chief Dr. Andrew Lynk says the IWK is seeing "historic levels" of children with respiratory illness. Photo: YouTube

Plus: It’s been a daunting few years for Nova Scotia’s live theatre scene, and the drama isn’t over

The IWK Health Centre is jammed with sick children — “historic levels of illness,” according to pediatrics chief Dr. Andrew Lynk.

“I just walked through our intensive care unit at the IWK today and there’s little babies and even four-year-olds in with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus),” he says in a press conference yesterday. “We have other kids in with flu now in the intensive care unit.”

With another COVID-19 surge added to the mix, Lynk says the hospital is seeing as many as 200 ill children per 24-hour shift, up from about 120 on a normal day.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, puts the onus on parents to safeguard their kids, as the government won’t reinstate the public health protections the province relied on during previous COVID waves.

“I’m asking Nova Scotians to pay attention and to wear masks in this focused, targeted way,” he says, dismissing calls for mandatory masking as “a distraction.” He also urges people to keep their COVID and flu vaccinations up to date and stay home “if possible” when ill.

Nova Scotian health officials are reporting 16 more COVID deaths in their latest weekly update, which includes 15 from “a previous reporting period.” From Nov. 8 to 14, 33 people were hospitalized for the disease, with 43 currently in care receiving COVID treatment, including seven in ICU.

The World Health Organization reports 188,389 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, the disease is known to have killed at least 6,594,491 people, including 45,389 in Canada and 632 Nova Scotians.

Chris O’Neill in The Tempest. Photo: Ken Schwartz

Can the show go on?
As COVID continues to spread, the drama and uncertainty persists for Nova Scotian arts organizations.

“We’re not post-COVID in any way, especially in the theatre,” says Chris O’Neill, co-chair of Theatre Nova Scotia and executive director of Canning’s Ross Creek Centre of the Arts and Two Planks and a Passion Theatre. “A few weeks ago, we had to cancel 11 of our performances. What I see is a failure of leadership in that regard because we’ve gone from ‘We’re all in this together’ to ‘Do what feels right for you,’ and that is a horrifying change. That lack of leadership is now being seen in the way that people are interacting with each other.”

Read her interview with Ameeta Vohra in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax.

Workers celebrate successful strike
Striking school support workers with the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union on the South Shore and in the Annapolis Valley are back on the job after voting 98 per cent in favour of a new deal.

“Achieving wage parity for school support workers is a long-overdue and important accomplishment,” union president Sandra Mullen says in a press release. “These workers stood together to demand what was right and fair, and together they were able to achieve equal, improved pay for their sector.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Credit union faces uncertainty
Many Nova Scotian communities have lost their financial services in recent years and there are concerns that Port Hood’s East Coast Credit Union could be the next to go.

“Due to human-resource challenges, they’re unable to provide an ongoing schedule for the community during the week,” says Inverness County chief administrative officer Keith MacDonald. “There’s been a significant amount of days that it has been closed for operations and members then have to travel to the Mabou branch.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Over to you
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The Roundup is taking a break; look for our next edition on Nov. 23.

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