As Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb, the provincial government is reinstating public health restrictions for HRM and some bordering communities, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced yesterday.

“We are using these restrictions as a circuit breaker to prevent our case count from increasing,” Premier Rankin says in a press release. “We are taking quick action to limit the opportunity for the virus to spread any further.”

The restrictions are scheduled to stay in force until May 20, but could lift sooner if the situation improves. The new rules apply to all of HRM, plus Hubbards, Milford, Lantz, Elmsdale, Enfield, South Uniacke, Ecum Secum, and Trafalgar.

Premier Iain Rankin. Photo: CNS

“We understand this is disruptive, but it is necessary to regain control of the virus,” Strang says. “I’m asking all Nova Scotians, especially residents in these areas, to do their part to help us fight COVID-19 by supporting and following these restrictions.”

The government is asking people to avoid travelling into and out of these areas unless absolutely necessary. “Necessary travel would include for school, work, health care, legal requirements, and family visitation under the purview of the Department of Community Services,” says the advisory. “Travel for shopping, social events, family visits, practices, or rehearsals are not considered necessary.”

Most schools and child care centres remain open. But beginning today, the following schools, which are in an area of increased COVID-19 activity, will close for at least two weeks: Auburn Drive High family of schools, Cole Harbour District High family of schools, Dartmouth High family of schools, École secondaire Mosaïque, École du Carrefour, and École Bois-Joli. All other schools remain open, with masks now mandatory for all students.

Late yesterday, the government also announced five more cases connected to local schools. Dartmouth South Academy and Ross Road School are among the schools already closed. Holland Road Elementary in Fletchers Lake and St. Catherine’s Elementary and St. Joseph’s-Alexander McKay Elementary, both in Halifax, are closing for cleaning, testing, and contact tracing. St. Joseph’s-Alexander McKay is scheduled to reopen on April 26, while St. Catherine’s and Holland Road aim to reopen on April 28.

Dining rooms are closed in the affected areas, with restaurants only allowed to offer takeout and delivery.

Follow this link for the complete list of restrictions now in effect.

Source: Government of N.S.

38 new COVID cases
Nova Scotia now has 111 known active cases of COVID-19, with 38 new cases reported in the latest government update.

That includes 33 new cases in the Central Zone, three in the Eastern Zone, one in the Northern Zone, and one in the Western Zone. While many of the cases are related to travel or are close contacts of known cases, health officials are still investigating 10, indicating that community spread is likely increasing.

There are 66 known cases of the U.K. variant, 12 cases of the South African variant, and one case of the Brazil variant identified in Nova Scotia.

As of April 21, provincial health-care workers have dispensed 247,312 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 34,144 Nova Scotians getting the second jab that completes immunization.

So far, COVID-19 has killed 67 Nova Scotians, and 23,822 Canadians.

Everyday safety
It’s the time of year when most folks throw themselves into household projects like cleaning, repairs, and gardening. As you do that work, you’ll encounter many chemicals, and they present more dangers than most people realize.

“A couple of weeks ago, I refilled dozens of hand sanitizer dispensers,” recalls safety expert James Golemiec. “I saved this work for the end of the day, since I knew that there would be some vapour buildup, but after an hour I started to get a headache. I had forgotten to turn on the exhaust fan. The next day the air quality was fine and so was I. I had experienced acute poisoning.”

In Golemiec’s latest Halifax Magazine column, learn about routine dangers around the home, and how you can avoid them.

Photo: Submitted

Sharing military history
Local man David Crocker has helped organize a display of wartime artifacts for public viewing at the mall in Bridgewater, including several exhibits from a Second World War veteran from Conquerall Mills.

The collection includes dress uniforms donated by Gloria Cox, widow of the late Douglas Maxwell Cox, an air force navigator who became an Axis prisoner-of-war. Other materials in the vast exhibit include items from Crocker’s late father, who served in the navy.

“I just have a love for history, and it’s blossomed,” Crocker says. “To be able to … get out and hear these stories, getting to relay what their families did, and what the veterans did, [it shows] somebody cares, and somebody remembers … For me, Remembrance Day isn’t just on Remembrance Day”

The South Shore Centre exhibit is open until the end of April.

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Raising money for local groups
The Regional Occupation Centre in Port Hawkesbury has begun a fundraiser that organizers hope will support good causes around the province. WinAbility is a weekly 50/50 raffle, with proceeds going to 23 Nova Scotia agencies that serve adults with disabilities.

Executive director Diana Poirier says the sold 10,440 tickets for the first draw.

“That’s a huge accomplishment for our sector across the province,” she says. “We’ve worked on this for the last two months, and we really looked at what are options were because our sector has really taken a hit since there is nowhere for us to fundraise because of COVID … We thought a provincial initiative would work better for all of us.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for The Reporter.

Animal control officer threatened with machete
New Glasgow police say that on April 19, a man on Reservoir Street threatened an animal control office with a machete. By the time police arrived, the suspect was gone.

On April 20, police arrested a 62-year-old man on Westville Road “without incident.” He faces charges of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, assault with a weapon, and uttering threats.

The Pictou Advocate has more.

Need to know
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

Halifax Magazine