Roundup: Mandatory testing for rotational workers, Tata teen publishes first novel, Inverness council wants answers after power & phone failures, lockdown at Bridgewater hospital

Photo: Equilibrium Engineering

Nova Scotia has 27 known active cases of COVID-19, with one new case tallied in yesterday’s update. The new case is in Central Zone, a close contact of a previously reported case.

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 2,408 tests on Jan. 11, for a total of 131,581 tests since the second wave began in October.

Since Jan. 9, health officials have administered 3,831 doses of the vaccine, with 1,076 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes the vaccination process. Nova Scotia has received 13,450 doses so far.

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

Testing for rotational workers
Alberta has become one of Canada’s biggest infection hot spots and Nova Scotian officials are worried about rotational workers bringing COVID with them when they return home.

“There have been cases among rotational workers and there is considerable risk of them importing the virus unknowingly, given how frequently they travel,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “That’s why testing is so important, along with their modified form of self-isolation.”

Starting Jan. 15, Nova Scotians doing rotational work outside Nova Scotia, P.E.I., or Newfoundland and Labrador must be tested on day one or two of their return home, and again on day six, seven, or eight. Even if they get a negative test result, they must complete 14 days of modified self-isolation.

“Audits will be done to check testing data for randomly chosen rotational workers,” says the government press release. “If they did not do their first test, they will get a phone call reminding them that it is mandatory. If they do not get their second test, they will be issued a $1,000 fine.”

Don Clarke

Green Town, N.S.
While much of Nova Scotia remains addicted to fossil fuels, over 60% of the electricity consumed in Berwick, is renewable, sourced chiefly from community owned wind turbines and a hydroelectric dam. And now this Annapolis Valley town is pairing its renewables with the latest in lithium ion battery storage.

“Our early foray into the world of renewables has caught the imagination of our council,” says Berwick mayor Don Clarke, “and indeed many residents will tell you they enjoy living in a progressive, green town.”

In this new Halifax Magazine column, Zack Metcalfe looks at what other communities can learn from Berwick’s success.

Inverness council wants answers after phone & power failures
On Jan. 3, the power went out in Inverness County. That alone isn’t too unusual, but this time the phones went out too, due to a failure of the battery backup system that normally powers landlines during an outage.

Thousands of people, in an area where cell service is spotty at best, went 10–12 hours without working landlines. “The equipment is 35 years old and I think we need to discuss this,” says Deputy Warden Bonny MacIsaac. “It’s a real serious health and safety issue.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Sarah Hammermeister. Photo: George Klass

Tatamagouche teen publishes first novel
Nineteen-year-old Siena Hammermeister of Tatamagouche recently published her first novel. Published under the pen name Phoenix De’clan, Idris: Eye of the Beholder is the story of a young woman living in ancient Greece, searching to find her true parents.

“My novel walks the line between historical fiction and fantasy,” explains Hammermeister. “It is a young adult novel, but one that could be enjoyed by all with a taste for adventure, sword-fighting, and a curiosity about the ancient world.”

She tells Peter Martyn about it in this recent story from The Light.

Lockdown at Bridgewater hospital
The hospital in Bridgewater went into a lockdown on Dec. 15, after a 23-year-old man showed up claiming he was stabbed. Details are scant: police say the man was uncooperative and his injuries didn’t gibe with his story, leaving officials concerned enough to continue the lockdown for an hour. Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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