Nova Scotia’s count of known active cases of COVID-19 has climbed to 40, with five new cases (three in the Central Zone, two in the Eastern), identified in the latest government update. One person is in hospital with the disease.

Health officials also reported a new U.K. variant case, for a total of 23 cases of the U.K. variant and 10 cases of the South African variant.

Nova Scotian labs did 2,020 tests on Apr. 7 and 320,908 since October.

Health-care workers have dispensed 129,809 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, with 30,400 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes their vaccination.

Despite the slowly climbing COVID count, Atlantic Canada’s infection rates are far lower than those of other provinces. Nationally, the federal government is tallies 64,291 known active cases, including 28,059 in Ontario, 12,187 in Alberta, and 11,452 in Quebec.

Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang are scheduled to webcast an update today at 1 p.m.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The truth about the horses of Sable Island
Nova Scotians like to believe that the horses of Sable Island lead a free-spirited romantic existence. But, as with most things in life, the truth is more complex.

Forced to live in an environment evolution didn’t prepare them for, they have short, uncomfortable lives, often struggling to find food and fresh water. In the winter, malnutrition and harsh weather often causes die-offs, up to 200 at a time. The small population forces inbreeding, with all its genetic consequences.

Beyond that, they’re an invasive species that has ravaged the island’s ecosystem.

“Instead of having a National Park protecting unique biodiversity on Canada’s most remote island, we have a pony farm for tourists,” says Memorial University biologist Ian Jones.

Learn more in this Halifax Magazine column by Zack Metcalfe, originally published April 2019.

Improving rural Internet
Pictou County’s municipal government is getting $4.46 million in federal funding to expand broadband service in rural areas. “A broadband network is a vital tool for residents and businesses,” says Warden Robert Parker. “We depend on the network for health, education … We will be serving 2,000 people in this phase of our broadband plan.”

The Pictou Advocate has details.

Todd Labrador. Photo: Facebook

Lunenburg arts school showcases Native skill
Renowned birch bark canoe builder Todd Labrador (a member of the Mi’kmaq Acadia First Nation) is scheduled to be in residence at the Lunenburg School of the Arts this fall to showcase his skills.

“He is a knowledge holder and is currently the only practising Mi’kmaw builder of birch bark canoes, and is recognized for this rare skill,” says a press release from the school.

He’ll build the canoe over a period of four to five weeks beginning Sept. 7. People can drop by as he works to learn about his expertise.

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Police investigate suspicious Guysborough Co. fires
Guysborough County District RCMP are investigating after suspicious fires destroyed two cabins in Half Island Cove on Apr. 6.  

“Investigators have determined via their examination that the fire was set deliberately,” Cpl. Chris Marshall says. “Investigators are still investigating to try and identify suspects.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Need to know
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Halifax Magazine