Roundup: Thousands of uncounted COVID cases, police seize bazooka in Pictou Co., another complaint against embattled Richmond councillor, Queens sells municipal airport

Police say a First World War bazooka is among the weapons they seized from a Pictou County home last week. Photo: RCMP

Plus: Despite optimistic government updates, Nova Scotia’s COVID situation is the worst in the country — and more deaths loom, cautions one expert

Nova Scotia is the province “struggling the most” with COVID-19 right now, cautions Dr. Tara Moriarty, director of an infectious diseases research laboratory and professor at the University of Toronto medical school.

She tweeted the warning on Saturday, the day after the provincial government’s latest update, in which Dr. Shelley Deeks, Nova Scotia’s deputy chief medical officer of health, struck an optimistic note.

“After several weeks of increases, the data suggests we may have hit the peak of the wave when it comes to new COVID-19 infections,” Deeks says in a press release.

Covering Apr. 12 to 18, the latest government update speaks of “a possible stabilization” in the number of known positive tests and the number of cases linked to long-term care outbreaks. However, the same report notes that the government’s own tally of 7,508 lab-confirmed infections during the week “does not represent a true case count in the province and is likely an underestimate.”

Moriarty estimates that the true infection rate is about 19,300 cases per day. She adds that if that number is accurate, Nova Scotia can expect its COVID death toll to climb to 17 fatalities per day.

Dr. Tara Moriarty

Her data indicates that a rejection of basic precautions accounts for the disease’s rapid spread. “Although people reduced out-of-home mobility in most of Canada from Apr. 6 to 13, mobility in Atlantic Canada stayed the same or increased, despite massive levels of community infection,” she tweets. “Are people in Atlantic Canada less aware of the hazard?”

That’s why local safety expert James Golemiec is continuing to mask, even though Premier Tim Houston ended most mandatory protections.

“I’m used to taking safety precautions, and it’s just another piece of clothing to put on, like my steel-toed boots,” he says. “I’ll also wear it in crowded public places to protect myself and others around me who are at higher risk.”

Read more in his recent Unravel Halifax column.

Police seize bazooka
After getting a report of a man pointing a gun at a woman, RCMP raided a Pictou County home last week, seizing a stash that includes a Second World War-era bazooka, eight rifles, six handguns, seven shotguns, and a crossbow.

Fifty-five-year-old Daren Douglas Loucks of Glencoe is scheduled to appear in Pictou provincial court on Apr. 27 to face charges of careless use of a firearm, using a firearm in the commission of an offence, pointing a firearm, uttering threats, and unsafe storage of a firearm.

The Pictou Advocate reports.

Michael Diggdon. File photo

Another complaint against embattled councillor
Councillor Michael Diggdon faces another accusation of breaching the Richmond County council’s code of conduct. The complaint comes weeks after a constituent says she received inappropriate messages after asking Diggdon to help her find housing.

Louisdale resident Tommy Samson made the latest complaint, saying Diggdon sent him a message threatening “to embarrass” CAO Don Marchand.

Meanwhile, Jessica Webb of L’Ardoise told last week’s council meeting that she resigned as co-chair of the Municipal Recreation Advisory Committee and contacted Richmond MLA Trevor Boudreau with related concerns about Diggdon.

“I didn’t really feel comfortable being on there with him,” she says. “My only issue is with him holding some kind of public office. He made a choice and there should be more severe consequences to his actions.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for the Reporter.

Queens sells municipal airport
The Region of Queens Municipality has sold its South Shore Regional Airport to Liemke Ventures Limited for $565,000, plus HST.

“I can tell you that when Mr. Liemke tells the community of his plans, they’re going to be very pleased,” says Mayor Darlene Norman. “It will continue to operate as an airport … This is a great step forward to ensure the continuation and future development of an airstrip for the South Shore, which is what it was built for. The sale ensures that the airstrip will continue.”

Kevin McBain has more for LighthouseNow.

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