Roundup: More COVID community spread, doctors call for drug decriminalization, Trenton fire suspicious, scofflaws plague recycling depot

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

Nova Scotia has 125 known active cases of COVID-19, with community spread again happening in the Central Zone, according to the latest government update, which spans Sept. 11 to 13. Four people are hospitalized in COVID units.

“We knew we’d get cases in the fourth wave and, like elsewhere, it’s among people who are not vaccinated,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “This highlights the importance of getting the vaccine. It’s the best line of defence against COVID-19.”

Thirty-six of the cases are in the Northern Zone (32 close contacts of previously reported cases, three travel-related, one under investigation). Health officials say they expect more cases in the area, because “there is a large cluster of linked cases in a defined group in Northern Zone. Most of the group is unvaccinated.”

Thirty-one cases are in the Central Zone (11 close contacts, nine travel-related, 11 under investigation). “There are signs of community spread among those in Central Zone aged 20 to 40 who are unvaccinated and participating in social activities,” says the government press release.

Four cases are in the Eastern Zone (three travel-related, one under investigation) and two cases are in the Western Zone (one close contact, one travel-related).

Premier Tim Houston announced last week that Nova Scotia will begin the final phase of its reopening plan tomorrow, ending most pandemic public health precautions.

Strang and health minister Michelle Thompson will webcast an update today at 3 p.m.

Pictou County fire suspicious
Police and fire officials are still looking for clues after a “suspicious” Monday morning fire in Trenton. Investigators say the fire started near the southeast side of the basement area of a Main Street business/residential complex, causing much damage.

The Pictou Advocate reports.

Doctors call for drug decriminalization
As always, health care has dominated the federal election campaign, yet the party leaders have spent little—if any—time talking about how law enforcement’s war against drug users impacts public health.

“Despite similar rates of substance use across the board, racialized communities are disproportionately affected by these harms,” says Dr. Tiffany O’Donnell, co-chair around Doctors For Decriminalization. “The redirection of resources from the justice system into supportive initiatives for people living with substance use disorders would save lives. We call on the federal government and each party leader to commit to taking a health and human rights based approach … decriminalizing the possession and use of drugs and treating substance use as the public health issue it is.”

Read more in The Reporter.

Rule-breakers beset Queens County recycling depot
Shelley Zinck, owner of Queen’s Enviro Centre in Brooklyn, says people ignoring rules and dumping waste illegally—often in the yard or driveway—are plaguing her business.

The incident that prompted her to speak out came last month.

“It was about 10 minutes after we closed, and I was still inside,” she recalls. “A car pulled in, and without slowing down he rolled his window down, threw stuff out, then took off.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

A new magazine for a reborn city
Tomorrow, Advocate Media will launch its newest title: Unravel Halifax.

Like its predecessor Halifax Magazine, this new magazine will continue to celebrate all the things that make our city special, but also champion the changemakers, challenge the injustices, and be a voice for progress.

In our first issue, we’ve assembled a panel of the people who are working hard to make this city a fairer place, where we all rise together.

Step one: decide where we want to go, and face the uncomfortable truths that are holding us back.

Look for our new website tomorrow, and sign up now for your free subscription.

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

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