Roundup: Nova Scotia remembers, quarantined oil tanker remains at anchor, Queens Co. care home closes, protesting income inequality in Pictou Co.

April 18 and 19 is the one-year anniversary of the murder of 22 Nova Scotians. Yesterday, the province paused to remember the lives lost with a special events and commemorations, and a virtual memorial service, with guests including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“I wish I could be with you in person,” he says, in webcasted remarks. “I know there is no comfort for the anguish of having an adored parent or precious child torn away … This tragedy never should have happened.”

Even as they mourn, victims’ loved ones continue to seek answers about the attack and the RCMP response to it. For several months, government and police officials have refused to answer questions, saying they want to wait for the Mass Casualty Commission to do its work. (Even though there’s nothing in Canadian law to prevent them from commenting while the investigation proceeds).

For an update on the families’ search for the truth, see this Halifax Magazine feature by Janet Whitman, published last week.

Premier Iain Rankin. Photo: CNS

COVID count climbs, cases in schools and long-term care home, more variants
Nova Scotia has 49 known active cases of COVID-19, with seven new cases reported in the latest government update. Three of the new cases are in the Eastern Zone. The others are in the Central Zone, including a case at Glasgow Hall, a long-term care home in Dartmouth.

Health officials say they’re isolating residents in their rooms and closing the facility to all visitors. They’ve tested all residents, and are continuing to test staff, with two workers testing positive so far. “Most” Glasgow Hall residents have been fully vaccinated.

“All the right steps are being taken to contain this outbreak for the safety of residents and staff at Glasgow Hall,” Premier Iain Rankin says in a press release.

Unrelated to those cases, the health officials are reporting 22 variant cases: 19 U.K., two South African. and one Brazilian. This is the first time the Brazilian variant has been detected in the province.

“While more of our cases have been confirmed as variants, it is a good sign that these cases are mainly due to travel,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “We are detecting them through testing and containing them before they can spread widely within Nova Scotia. This is another reminder why it’s important for people to not travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

The government also announced COVID-19 cases in South Woodside Elementary School in Dartmouth and St. Joseph’s-Alexander McKay Elementary School in Halifax. Both schools will be closed until April 22 for cleaning, testing, and contact tracing.

The pandemic has killed 67 Nova Scotians thus far.

COVID-stricken oil tanker remains at anchor
The oil tanker San Telmo remains anchored in the Canso Strait, where it’s been since multiple people aboard tested positive for COVID-19.

It’s an ordeal for the crew, who have already endured a lot of stress and confinement, says Karl Risser, Atlantic inspector for the International Transport Workers Federation.

“A lot of them were stuck at sea for a long time with the crew change issue because of the shutdowns of borders so a lot of them were stuck on board, 16 to 18 months at a time,” he explains. “Now that they’re doing some crew changes, COVID has entered some of the ships, and once it gets on a ship, it’s tight, confined spaces.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for The Reporter.

Queens Co. care home closes
Meadowbrook Manor, a privately operated long-term care home, in South Brookfield is closing after 30 years, with management citing low occupancy. Only seven of the site’s 11 beds are in use.

“The government will not support us because we are classified as private,” says spokesman Jonathan Roach. “They will not work with us … We don’t know why our beds are empty. We can’t understand that. If there is a waiting list for people to go into a nursing home, why is the provincial government not collaborating with Meadowbrook Manor to get some of these people into a home?”

Brendan Elliott, a spokesman for Nova Scotia Health, confirms that “Nova Scotia Health does not refer or place clients in private, unlicensed facilities. This has not changed.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Fighting income inequality
Last week, people gathered in Pictou County to speaking out in favour of a guaranteed livable income.

“This is for all Canadians, not just one group,” says organizer Rev. Karen Ross. “It’s for all people to be treated equally … so they don’t have to strive to decide which bill will get paid this month, and whether or not they can buy good food for their kids.”

Jackie Jardine has more for The Pictou Advocate.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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