As of yesterday (Dec. 8), Nova Scotia has 78 active cases of COVID-19, with seven new cases reported in the latest government update.

Four of those new cases are in the Central Zone, including one connected to Shannon Park Elementary in Dartmouth. The school is closed until Dec. 14 for cleaning, testing, and contact tracing.

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 840 tests on Dec. 7.

Vaccine trickles in
Nova Scotia will receive 1,950 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week, Premier Stephen McNeil announced yesterday. The first doses will go to health-care workers in the Central Zone as soon as Health Canada approves the vaccine, says the announcement.

Premier Stephen McNeil. Photo: CNS

Health-care workers at the front of the line include those working in COVID-19 care units, Regional Care Units, and ICUs that care for COVID-19 patients.

“We have all been waiting anxiously for a vaccine to arrive,” says Premier Stephen McNeil in a press release. “We want everyone to be vaccinated as quickly as possible, but we have to accept that the rollout will be gradual based on vaccine supply.”

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 C, which means officials can’t move it around the province. Government expects to get a total of 150,000 doses in small, weekly allotments beginning the week of Dec. 15. The vaccine requires two doses.

The press release also says that the Moderna vaccine, which is easier to store and transport, is “also expected to begin arriving this month.”

Nova Scotia is following the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations guidelines on COVID-19 vaccines, which prioritizes long-term care residents and staff, seniors over the age of 80, and frontline health-care workers.

“As our vaccine supply increases, we will turn our attention to immunize those at higher risk for severe disease due to underlying health conditions or socio-economic factors,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia. “It will take months before there will be a vaccine for everyone.”

Strang and McNeil provided little other information yesterday, as McNeil abruptly ended the press conference after three questions, later saying he was feeling unwell after eating a late lunch.

Iona Stoddard

Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes park push continues
Friends of BMBCL, the group pushing for the long-promised Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes regional park, has a new ally.

The park has been discussed for 30 years now and while all levels of government seem to support the idea, efforts to acquire and protect the wilderness just outside Halifax have been slow and sporadic.

Now, new District 12 Councillor Iona Stoddard is promising her support. “We need places like this in the city that you can get away and be at peace with yourself,” she says. “We need a wilderness park. It’s a beautiful place to relax and decompress, and of course, there are medical benefits mentally, physically, and emotionally.”

Ameeta Vohra reports on the three-decade campaign in this new Halifax Magazine feature.

Bridgewater’s King Street blaze. Photo: LighthouseNow

Bridgewater arsonist gets day parole
The Parole Board of Canada has granted day parole to the arsonist who destroyed several buildings on Bridgewater’s King Street in October 2017. Adrian Thomas Hunt, of Greenfield, served nearly two years of a five-year prison sentence.

He’s supposed to stay in a halfway house when bed space is available and is subject to conditions, such as staying away from victims, and people involved in criminal activity. He also must avoid alcohol and drugs.

The board denied his request for full parole, saying Hunt is “stubborn” and “demonstrates a willingness … to flout the rules.” Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Train injures Truro man
A 26-year-old Colchester County man is in hospital with “serious injuries” after a CN freight train hit him around noon on Dec. 8. Truro Police have released few details, but say he was in an “unauthorized area” of the train tracks. They’re asking anyone who saw the accident to come forward. Hub Now has the story.

Photo: Steve Smith/Visionfire

Holiday menu ideas
With most festive celebrations happening in small groups at home this year, people are looking for ways to put a fun new twist on things.

The season’s hottest trends? Charcuterie and grazing boxes: bite-sized morsels of all your favourite treats, with eye-catching presentations.

“It’s a way in keeping or bringing the family together, and also a way to alleviate community stress,” says Simone Metlege of Boxed Bites Catering in Halifax. “When I started hosting my events, I thought about how to put things together. I was always putting so much effort into how things look, researching different ways of styling. I realized there are more opportunities to make it more than just typical meat and cheese.”

Find ideas aplenty in this new East Coast Living story by Ameeta Vohra.

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