Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 case count continues to climb, with 822 known active cases in the province, according to the latest government update.

But that number doesn’t give a true picture of what’s happening, as Premier Iain Rankin and chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang revealed on Friday that the province hasn’t given Nova Scotians accurate case counts for several days, with about 45,000 uncounted tests.

“Thousands and thousands of Nova Scotians have done what we have asked: get tested,” Strang says in a press release. “Because of that, there currently is a large backlog in the lab of about three days. We need to expect high case numbers in the days ahead as the lab and public health get caught up.”

Since the pandemic began, the Liberal government has frequently pointed to Nova Scotia’s case numbers as a reason for hope, but Rankin has now made a 180-degree turn. “We can’t get distracted by the case counts or feel disheartened by them,” he says in a press release.

The government says there are currently 34 people hospitalized in Nova Scotia with COVID-19, including six in ICU.

Strang and Rankin are scheduled to webcast an update today at 3 p.m.

Patrick Maubert and Liane Khoury

Clear heads, open hearts
The pandemic is taking a toll on everyone’s mental health and a recent study shows it’s hitting queer Canadians particularly hard, with LGBTQ+ reporting depression, anxiety, stress, and symptoms of PTSD.

Even before the pandemic, studies have shown that gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender people are at higher risk for substance use disorders than the general population. In a survey of American LGBTQ+ university students, 32% of respondents reported that they were drinking more alcohol since the pandemic started.

“Looking at addictions and how prevalent it is within the queer community brings it home,” says Patrick Maubert, who is also in recovery, “the numbers are staggering.”

Maubert, along with Liane Khoury, helps organize UNtoxicated Queers. The group, currently meeting virtually, supports people in the LGBTQ+ community who struggle with drugs and alcohol. “Coming together is essential, especially with our population,” Maubert says. “Learning from each other with different perspectives has been, I think, quite beneficial.”

Darrell Roberts reports for Halifax Magazine.

Bridgewater won’t make exception for developer
A Halifax-based real estate firm’s plans for a 30-unit residential complex on the site of the former Fairview Inn in Bridgewater are in limbo after the municipal government refused the company’s request to rezone the property, citing insufficient infrastructure for the proposal.

“My concern with this would be setting a precedent where the taxpayer is funding the upgrade required for a for-profit development,” says Mayor David Mitchell. “The town doesn’t generally use taxpayer money to facilitate a development that is for-profit.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Women hospitalized after ATV crash, say police
A 44-year-old woman is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after an ATV crashed in a ditch near Canso. Two passengers, an 18-year-old woman and a 16-year-old woman, are also in hospital with serious injuries.

“It is believed the ATV tipped causing the riders to be ejected,” says RCMP Cpl. Chris Marshall. “Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Three charged after cocaine bust
Three Pictou County men face charges after several police agencies teamed up for an April 30 raid.

Police have released few details, except that a 20-year-old faces a charge of trafficking cocaine, and a 46-year-old man and 51-year-old man both face charges of possession and trafficking cocaine.

See the story in The Pictou Advocate.

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Halifax Magazine