Roundup: Vaccination update, combining art and hiking, Bridgewater filmmaker finishes first feature, Pictou United Way kicks off campaign, election environmental issues

The COVID-19 vaccine remains effective at reducing death and serious illness related to the disease, as a recent provincial government update illustrates.

There were 4,422 known cases of COVID in Nova Scotia from March 15 to Sept. 9, 2021:

  • 82 (1.9%) were fully vaccinated,
  • 265 (6.0%) were partially vaccinated,
  • 4,075 (92.1%) were unvaccinated.

There were 257 people hospitalized:

  • Two (0.8%) were fully vaccinated,
  • 28 (10.9%) were partially vaccinated,
  • 227 (88.3%) were unvaccinated.

The disease killed 28 people:

  • One (3.6%) was fully vaccinated,
  • 3 (10.7%) were partially vaccinated,
  • 24 (85.7%) were unvaccinated.

As of Sept. 12, 77.6% of Nova Scotians have had one jab, and 71.4% have had both shots.

The view from Franey Mountain. Photo: Zack Metcalfe

Healing in the Highlands
There’s a host of new research and scientific evidence verifying what fresh-air fiends have been saying all along: nature has the power to heal body and soul.

The largest meta-analysis of its kind, including data from 143 studies internationally and published in the journal Environmental Research in 2018, concluded that increased greenspace exposure was associated with decreased cortisol (stress) levels, heart rate, diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, risk of pre-term birth, type II diabetes, all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, and increased incidence of good self-reported health.

With that in mind, nature columnist Zack Metcalfe recently headed into the Nova Scotian wilderness.

I broke the seal of this pandemic summer in the Cape Breton Highlands, resorting to this National Park for wilderness of sufficient calibre,” he says. “Atop Franey Mountain, looming over the park’s eastern shore, I found the slowed breathing and general gratitude of relief … You see nothing human from here, only trees and mountains and water and sand. Before I knew it, a pandemic’s worth of frustrations vanished on the wind, the fury of the air clearing the calcified arteries of my wary soul.”

Read more in his latest Halifax Magazine post.

Election environmental issues
Pollution, loss of biodiversity, threats to the forest, and the worsening climate crisis are among the key issues that Maritime environmental groups want the parties to address during this election campaign.

“Healthy and robust ecosystems … reinforce the local economy, protect people’s health and security, buffer communities from extreme weather—like flooding, ice storms, and sea-level rise—and reduce greenhouse gas levels,” says a recent report in The Saint Croix Courier.

Learn more.

South Shore filmmaker finishes feature
A self-taught filmmaker, who gained a passion for movies working at a video store in Bridgewater, is completing work on his first feature film.

Scott McKone, who grew up in Bridgewater and now lives in Bedford, has been collaborating with Newfoundland’s Rick Courtney, assistant director and an actor on The Titanic, to produce the suspense film Surface Tension.

The move reflects McKone’s roots. “I really want to keep this fiendishly Nova Scotian if at all possible,” he says, adding that the self-financed production prominently features local music and actors.

Gayle Wilson has details for LighthouseNow.

Pictou United Way campaign begins
The United Way has begun its annual fundraising campaign in Pictou, looking to raise $315,000 for local good causes between now and Dec. 15.

Campaign chair David Fearon says the people who volunteer to gather donations year after year are key to the effort’s success.

“It’s all about relationships,” he says. “One thing about Pictou County, it’s a giving community. Last year was a tough year due to COVID, and we’re not out of it yet, but the United Way goes out of its way to support people.”

Steve Goodwin reports for The Pictou Advocate.

Need to know
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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