As of yesterday (Dec. 14), Nova Scotia has 57 known active cases of COVID-19, with five new cases reported in the latest government update. Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 1,209 tests on Dec. 13.

“We will reach a milestone in the battle against COVID-19 this week with the arrival of the first doses of vaccine and the first vaccinations,” says Premier Stephen McNeil in a press release. “This is great news, but it will take time for everyone to get their shots. That means we have to keep following the public health protocols.”

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, explains that the epidemiology is shifting. “Most of our cases are related to travel or are a close contact of a previously reported case,” he says. “This highlights the risk of reintroduction of COVID-19 associated with non-essential travel. As we approach the holiday season, I encourage you to limit social contacts and non-essential travel.”

Premier Stephen McNeil (left) and Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

Dr. Strang on pandemics, science deniers, and reasons for hope
Since March, Dr. Strang has been regularly updating media with Premier McNeil—a successful buddy act that marries science, stern leadership, and compassion.

“[Premier McNeil] listens when I give advice,” Strang says. “I think that’s one of the fundamental successes that we have in Nova Scotia, unlike certainly in other countries, even in other provinces and territories, where there’s been more politicization of this event. We’ve been able to work together to put… protecting the health of Nova Scotians at the forefront.”

In this new Halifax Magazine interview, Strang talks with Ameeta Vohra about his relationship with McNeil, vaccination plans, science-deniers, and what 2021 holds for Nova Scotia.

Chief Andrea Paul

Shots fired at First Nations fishers
Pictou District RCMP arrested four people after reports someone tampered with lobster traps and shot a gun at First Nations fishers. Pictou Landing First Nations Chief Andrea Paul praised police for a quick response.

“They were on scene all night,” she says in a Facebook post. “There were also officers in the community patrolling all evening.” The Pictou Advocate has more.

Green leaders
Subway Bottle Exchange in Bible Hill is the province’s Large Enviro-Depot of the Year, recently winning the award from Divert NS. In a year when COVID made doing business tougher than ever, the recognition reflects workers’ commitment to their community, according to co-owner Chrissy Bonnell.

“When people come here, it’s always the same faces,” she says. “Even in this pandemic, our standards are still what the customers expect, even down to us going to the trunk to assist the customer.”

Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

“Cuddle bed” for Bridgewater palliative care
Katherine “Taff” Cheeseman thought her efforts to raise $22,250 for palliative care unit at the Bridgewater hospital would take a few months. The campaign, in memory of her husband Rick, took eight days.

The money will fund a new “cuddle bed,” allowing patients to snuggle with loved ones. “It’s not just for the patient, it’s for the family too,” Chessman says. “It’s not always possible to bring a family member home.”

See Keith Corcoran’s story for LighthouseNow.

Tell your stories
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Halifax Magazine