Roundup: Vaccination plan update, Truro curler bound for women’s championship, gov to remove derelict ship, Autism NS worried about resource cuts

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 count remains low, with the provincial government reporting one new case in the latest update, for a total of 11 known active cases. The new case is in the Central Zone, related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. There are two people hospitalized with the disease, including one in ICU.

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 1,617 tests on Feb. 2, and 165,214 tests since the second wave of the pandemic began in October.

As of Feb. 2, Nova Scotian health care workers have dispensed 15,837 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 3,457 people getting the second dose that completes their inoculation.

Photo: Communications N.S.

Vaccination update
Nova Scotia’s first community-based COVID-19 immunization clinic for Nova Scotians age 80+ is scheduled to begin later this month, according to a government announcement yesterday.

The next group scheduled will be people in the 75–79 range, with vaccinations planned to continue in declining five-year age blocks until everyone in the province has gotten the shots.

“The greatest risk factor for COVID-19 patients is their age,” Premier Stephen McNeil says in a press release. “As vaccine supply increases, we are preparing to launch community clinics across the province to immunize as many people as quickly as possible, starting with those at greatest risk.”

The first community-based clinic is slated to begin Feb. 22 in Halifax. People eligible for vaccination will get a letter with information about scheduling appointments. In March, the government plans to have more clinics in HRM, Truro, Cape Breton, Kentville, Yarmouth, Antigonish, Amherst, and Bridgewater.

The government update says that the following groups remain priorities during Phase 1 of the vaccination plan:

  • People who work directly with patients in hospital or patients in their homes;
  • Workers and residents in long-term care homes and their designated caregivers;
  • People who live and work in adult residential care centres, regional rehabilitation centres, and residential care facilities.

In the second phase of vaccinations, these groups are priorities:

  • Hospital workers who may come into contact with patients;
  • Doctors and nurses who work in the community;
  • Dentists and dental hygienists;
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians;
  • People who live in large group settings and those who work directly with them, including jails, shelters, and temporary foreign workers’ quarters;
  • Workers who regularly travel in and out of the province, such as truck drivers and rotational workers (but not people who live in Nova Scotia and cross the provincial border daily for work);
  • People responsible for food security whose work makes it impossible to follow public health protocols.

Health officials to prioritize everyone else in Nova Scotia based on age.

Iona Stoddard

Black History Month—Iona Stoddard’s big leap
A few years in the future, when people mark Black History Month, Halifax Councillor Iona Stoddard is sure to be part of the discussion. Elected to HRM Council last October, she ran a courageous campaign and unseated incumbent Richard Zurawski.

“I felt there should be some diversity; I wanted to make a difference,” she says. “It was bigger than me, and I thought this district deserved more. I believe from the beginning that there should be more people of colour in council, more women. I felt that it would be a big step… and that would be a good look to have people in Council that represent the area.”

She tells Ameeta Vohra about it in this Halifax Magazine feature, originally published in October 2020.

Truro curler headed to Tournament of Hearts
Truro curler Karlee Burgess is headed to Calgary to compete in her first Tournament of Hearts (the Canadian women’s championship). She’ll be part of Manitoba’s Team Zacharias, which snagged a wildcard spot for the tournament.

“This will be a new experience: to play on that level, on that stage,” Burgess says. “We are one of the younger teams, but we want to show them we should be there.”

Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

Government to remove derelict ship
The government finally has plans to remove the Schwalbe, a derelict vessel that has been languishing on the shore in Feltzen South since it broke free from its moorings in Lunenburg Harbour in 2015.

Details of the cleanup are scanty. Nova Scotia Lands is overseeing the work, which Transport Canada is funding. Spokespeople for both organizations refused media requests for information about the timeline.

Keith Corcoran has the story for Lighthouse Now.

Cuts worry Autism NS
Cynthia Carroll, executive director of Autism Nova Scotia, is concerned about a recent government decision to cut the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention program from a year to six months.

“Families should have the option to receive a full 12 months,” she says. “No child should miss a crucial intervention window and families should have access to 100% of the intervention that is available. A more sustainable plan needs to be explored.”

Jake Boudrot has details for The Reporter.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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