Roundup: Faster COVID testing promised, ‘unacceptable and unlawful’ actions by DFO, Air Show Atlantic to return, food banks scramble for support

As of yesterday (Oct. 28), Nova Scotia continues to have five confirmed cases of COVID-19, with no new ones identified in the latest update from the provincial government. To date, Nova Scotia has had 110,079 negative test results, 1,102 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 65 deaths.

Promising to cut COVID testing waits
Online booking for COVID-19 testing appointments is now available for anyone getting a test through primary assessment centres in the Central Zone or at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: Communications N.S.

People who complete the online self-assessment and require a test will be directed to online booking. According to the government press release, that should cut the wait time for an appointment to about 10 minutes.

“We are continuing to streamline the testing process,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “This will allow us to detect the virus sooner and manage any new cases in our province.”

811 will continue to help people who can’t access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse.

Jeremy Webb

Showtime TBA
Like many arts groups, Neptune Theatre quickly suspended operations when the pandemic hit in March. Since then, artistic director Jeremy Webb and his team have been trying to maintain audience interest and revenue with online performances and events like a (safely distanced) movie night at the theatre.

Those things help but not enough. “Without some emergency relief, I’m fearful that not everyone and every company will survive; the cultural fabric of our community of our province will suffer and will not be there when everyone gets back to that new normal,” Webb says. “It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be tough, and it’s a case of looking at what we value in society and need.”

He tells Ameeta Vohra about it, and his hopes for Neptune’s eventual return to stage, in this new Halifax Magazine story.

Photo: Jake Boudrot

“Unacceptable and unlawful” actions by DFO
The federal government is again not living up to its treaty obligations, says the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs. DFO officers recently seized 200 lobster traps from Potlotek and Eskasoni fishers who preparing for their legal harvest.

“This is unacceptable and unlawful,” says a statement from the group.

DFO officials refused to take part in discussions with the fishers to explain their actions. “In a very critical moment, the federal government has failed us,” says Chief Terrance Paul. “We have been pushing for movement from Canada to work together… We have been met, once again, with roadblocks.” Jake Boudrot has the story for The Reporter.

Cleared for takeoff
Organizers plan to bring Air Show Atlantic back to Debert in 2021, they announced yesterday, after COVID-19 grounded the 2020 edition. The dates aren’t yet confirmed but they’re aiming for late August, with the hope pandemic travel and gathering restrictions will ease by then.

“Everybody wants to be as late in the season as possible, to be as far past COVID as we can be,” says executive director Colin Stephenson. “We want this air show, we just don’t know what it will look like yet.” Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

Food banks in need
As another hungry winter approaches, food banks throughout Nova Scotia are struggling to deal with the pandemic triple threat of increased need, fewer donations, and the loss of traditional fund-raising opportunities.

For example, distancing rules forced the Pictou County Food Bank to cancel its annual telethon. “It takes literally hundreds of volunteers to enable the telethon to be held,” says organizer Lia LeClair. “And we don’t want to put anyone at risk.”

But organizers hope they’ve come up with a good replacement: a virtual event (similar to the Nova Scotia Online Kitchen Party that dominated Facebook in the spring) that will run throughout November, hosting performances and soliciting support. Learn more about the event, and how you can help, in this new Jackie Jardine story from The Pictou Advocate.

Community news
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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