As of yesterday (Feb. 2), Nova Scotia has 10 active cases of COVID-19, with one new case reported in the latest government update. There are two people with the disease in hospital, including one in ICU.

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 919 tests on Feb. 1 and 163,597 tests since the second wave of the pandemic began in October.

As of Feb. 1, health care workers have administered 15,165 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nova Scotia; 2,954 have gotten the second dose to complete their inoculation.

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang are scheduled to webcast an update today at 3 p.m. (although they rarely start on time).

COVID across the country
In the rest of Canada, the pandemic picture isn’t nearly as rosy. There are 49,562 known active cases, according to the latest federal government figures. Ontario (17,451 active cases), Quebec (13,127), and Alberta (6,912) remain infection hot spots.

COVID has killed 20,213 Canadians, including 65 Nova Scotians.

Photo: C.W. Ruck

Stories of Black history
Canada is celebrating Black History Month. In the free Halifax Magazine archives, you’ll find dozens of stories of Black people past and present who have shaped our community.

One of our readers’ favourites is a 2016 story by Bob Gordon about the No. 2 Construction Battalion, an all-Black Nova Scotian unit that served on the Western Front during the First World War.

Those men served heroically but initially, the army didn’t want them.

“Industrial warfare was consuming lives at a furious rate in a struggle that seemed to be permanently stalemated,” Gordon writes. “That manpower crisis led to the formation of… the first Black unit.” Or as soldier Robert Sheppard put it: “when things got so hot over in France, they decided to accept Blacks.”

Read more.

Queens Co. man faces child-porn and weapons charges
A Greenfield man is scheduled to appear in court on child-pornography and weapons charges after the RCMP conducted two searches on Jan. 28, acting on “information from another law enforcement agency.”

Vernon Lionel Bent is scheduled to appear in court in March.

In 2016, Bent was sentenced to nine months in jail after police found he had shared 3,000 “child exploitation files” online.

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Melanie Sampson

Dry fire hydrants in Richmond Co.
There are concerns about the ability to fight fires in Richmond County, after firefighters discovered some 14 nonfunctioning “dry” fire hydrants in the area.

Workers estimate the replacement cost at $10,000 per hydrant, sparking a financial debate in the cash-strapped community.

“These are budgetary issues and we’re just heading into budget deliberations,” says Councillor Melanie Sampson. “We can’t add them to the budget considerations until we have some costing, but it costs money to get a costing.”

Jake Boudrot has details for The Reporter.

Payton Moore

Superhero” child defies odds
When Payton Moore of Salt Springs, Pictou Co. was just a few months old, doctors diagnosed her with pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2a, a rare genetic mutation.

“She is the only child in Nova Scotia with her condition and is one of five in Canada,” says her mother Carla Moore. “There is no timeline for a disease like this. It is simply too rare and unstudied… Initially we were told she wouldn’t see her first birthday, and now she’s 4!”

In this Pictou Advocate story by Jackie Jardine, Carla shares how Payton brings joy to every day, and keeps beating the odds.

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

Halifax Magazine