Nova Scotia has 17 known active cases of COVID-19, with two new cases (in the Central Zone) reported in the latest government update. Two people are currently hospitalized in ICU with the disease.

Health officials also say that testing has revealed four previously reported cases to be variants: two U.K. and two South African, for a total of 13 known U.K. cases and 10 South African cases in the province. “At this time, there is no sign of community spread from the variant cases,” says the government press release.

Nova Scotian labs completed 1,646 tests on March 15, and 268,262 since the second wave of the pandemic began in October.

As of March 15, Nova Scotian health-care workers have dispensed 50,144 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 16,650 people getting the second dose that completes the immunization process.

Premier Iain Rankin. Photo: CNS

Vaccinating homeless people
Yesterday, the provincial government also announced plans to use mobile clinics to vaccinate people at homeless shelters.

“We have communities in our province who historically have been difficult to reach or have experienced barriers to accessing health services,” Premier Iain Rankin says in a press release. “One of the first vaccine stops for our mobile units will be to immunize people who use, work, or volunteer at homeless shelters.”

Scheduled to start in early April, the campaign will begin with seven shelters in Halifax. “This is an important milestone in our efforts to bring vaccine to every Nova Scotian,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “People will get their first dose and we will work with the shelters to make sure everyone gets their second dose within four months.”

Retired RCMP officer faces child-porn charges
Liverpool-area resident Lauren McKiel, an 84-year-old retired RCMP officer, faces charges of possessing child sex abuse material on two separate occasions last year.

Police investigating a South Shore child pornography case won’t share specific details, but court records reveal they looked at Microsoft OneDrive accounts accessed by internet-enabled devices at a Queens County home.

Neither the allegations contained in the search records, nor the criminal charges have been tested in court.

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

The big deal about tiny homes
Tiny homes, often as small as 250 square feet, are all the rage these days, attracting people who want to own a house with the crippling debt, or are looking to make a smaller environmental footprint.

But in many areas, housing regulations are well behind the trend, so there are many questions to ask before putting up your pint-sized castle.

“Each municipality has a different set of rules,” says contractor Leo Girouard, who started Wee Bitty Builders with his wife Karen in 2016. “It can depend on the person you talk to. Like any civil servant, some are helpful, some are not.”

Janet Whitman explores the tiny homes trend in this new East Coast Living feature.

Rare sighting excites local birders
Avid local bird watchers are flocking to Bayview, in Pictou County, after sightings of a rare black vulture. And while it’s a thrill for many to be able to tick a new species off their list, Halifax birder Jason Dain is reminding people not to disturb them, especially this time of year, when food is scarce and their energy is low.

“Bird are fighting for every calorie they can get,” he explains. “Consider the bird first. It’s a really hot topic in birding now, the ethics of it … We have to be mindful.”

Heather Brimicombe has the story for The Pictou Advocate.

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Halifax Magazine