Nova Scotia has 589 known active cases of COVID-19, with 67 new cases reported in the latest government update. Fourteen people are hospitalized with the disease, including four in ICU.

As of April 28, health care workers have dispensed 304,187 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, with 35,994 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes inoculation. Starting today, the vaccination program is expanded: people age 40 to 54 can book appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

So far, the pandemic has killed 67 Nova Scotians and 24,169 people across Canada.

Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang are scheduled to webcast an update today at 2 p.m.

Mayor Darlene Norman

Fecal-contaminated Mersey River is safe, mayor falsely claims
Queens Municipality Mayor Darlene Norman insists the Mersey River is safe, despite scientific evidence showing dangerously high levels of fecal contamination.

“I grew up on that river, and we swam in it, and I’m going to continue to swim there,” she says. “I was talking to an acquaintance the other day—the water flows past their house and they intend on continuing to swim in it.”

Ongoing testing by local Grade 7 students shows Enterococci bacteria levels in the river have reached up to 758 parts Enterococci per 100 millilitres of water. Under Health Canada regulations, it’s unadvisable to swim in waters where there are 70 Enterococci per 100 ml. At 170 Enterococci per 100 ml, the water should not even touch human skin.

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Keeping food out of landfills
The non-profit group Second Harvest, which works to fight hunger by better redirecting food that businesses would otherwise waste, has announced a partnership with grocery giant Empire (the Pictou County company that owns Sobeys, among other chains).

“The number of Canadians experiencing food insecurity has significantly increased since the onset of the
COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for access to healthy food has never been greater,” says Lori Nikkel,
CEO of Second Harvest. “Our food rescue app enables businesses with surplus perishable food to quickly and easily connect with non-profits who serve people in need. This partnership will support our communities’ most vulnerable and reduce food waste.”

The Pictou Advocate has details.

Halifax City Home. Photo: Nova Scotia Archives

Memories of Halifax’s City Home
When Dorothy Grant was a child in Halifax in the 1940s, she’d often go (very much against her will) to visit her uncle at the Halifax City Home, a residence for the “poor and indigent,” in the parlance of the day.

“There were men, women, and children of all ages,” she recalls. “Some had mental illness or mobility issues, others were suffering from nothing more than age. Francis would quickly lumber over to us. He was always dressed in mismatched and ill-fitting clothes. He usually needed a haircut … As a young girl, I found the environment distressing and was always keen to leave. Week after week, I sought excuses to avoid returning to the dreadful City Home.”

When she was a young adult studying nursing, fate pulled her back to the City Home, where conditions were even worse than her childhood memories.

In this new Halifax Magazine historical report, Grant looks back at the notorious institution that stood on the site of the present-day IWK.

Nova Scotia’s lost surnames
A look back at old Nova Scotian genealogical records shows that many of the surnames that once dominated this province are fast fading from memory. One such name is Bellefontaine, once ubiquitous in Cape Breton’s Acadian communities.

Don Boudrot looks back in this historical column from The Reporter.

Need to know
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Halifax Magazine