Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 numbers are at an all-time high, with health officials announcing 66 new cases yesterday, for a total of 323 known active cases in the province. Sixty new cases are in the Central Zone, three in the Eastern, two in the Western, and one in the Northern. Five people are currently hospitalized with the disease, including two in ICU.

As of April 25, health care workers have dispensed 276,075 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, with 34,816 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes inoculation.

So far, COVID has killed 67 Nova Scotians, and 24,024 people across Canada.

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

New restrictions
With the number of COVID cases in the province now at its all-time high, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced new restrictions.

“We need to limit the virus’s ability to spread by reducing the opportunities for people to come together,” Strang says in a press release. “For the next four weeks, I’m asking everyone to roar back at this virus by hunkering down close to home as much as possible, reducing your contact with other people, and getting tested regularly.”

The government is telling people to “avoid travel outside their own community unless it is absolutely necessary,” such as for school, work, health care, child care, child custody, legal requirements, and family visitation under the purview of the Department of Community Services.

Restrictions announced last week for HRM, Hubbards, Milford, Lantz, Elmsdale, Enfield, Mount Uniacke, South Uniacke, Ecum Secum, and Trafalgar are still in effect. In all other parts of the province, new gathering limits begin today and are scheduled to continue until May 20. Follow this link for details.

Lessons from past pandemics
When facing a pandemic, history offers public policymakers two lessons: the crisis often moves slowly, and the worst will come when you let your guard down. Halifax first learned this lesson in the 1830s.

In 1832, a cholera epidemic raged in Quebec City. Anticipating the pandemic’s arrival here, colonial officials undertook expensive preparations, building three new hospitals. But for two years, there wasn’t a single known case of the disease in the city, and Halifax began to relax and wonder what all the hullabaloo was about.

Two years later, cholera arrived in Halifax, killing some 400 people and leaving many wondering why the previous expensive preparations were for naught.

“Two years ago the most ample preparation was made and very heavy expenses incurred, for the reception of Cholera, but the Cholera did not come,” said the Novascotian newspaper. “It is probable enough that the whole thing might have been managed with more economy; and if any body could have foreseen that the disease would have been two years travelling from Canada here, several thousands might have been saved.”

Bob Gordon looks back in this recent Halifax Magazine report.

Chris Heide

A theatrical legacy
Chris Heide, managing director of Chester Playhouse, recently received Theatre Nova Scotia’s annual Legacy Award, recognizing his lengthy career as a playwright, director, producer, and writer.

“Legacy Award—a little bit intimidated at that idea,” he says. “I never really thought about a legacy at all.” He adds that early in his career he found that “theatre could play a role in developing and strengthening, deepening a sense of community between people. And that’s what I’ve pursued with everything I’ve written for the stage. Just basically putting one foot in front of another, so if there’s a legacy, that’s great.”

Gayle Wilson reports for LighthouseNow.

More solar power opportunities
Recently, provincial energy minister Simon d’Entremont announced amendments to the Electricity Act to make it easier for people and small businesses to generate green energy.

“We’re seeing interest from apartment building owners, small businesses who have climate change aspirations, they want change, they want to do something,” he says. “But right now, the system doesn’t really allow them to have that, so we want to create a path for business to have access to solar.”

The new plan will allow apartment renters to adopt solar power through a shared ownership or subscription model, plus municipalities, First Nation bands, co-ops, and not-for-profits can create community solar gardens to reduce energy poverty.

Drake Lowthers has details for The Reporter.

MHL season on hold again
With new gathering limits and government asking people to avoid unnecessary travel, the Maritime Junior Hockey League season is on hold again for the league’s six Nova Scotian teams, with no resumption of play in sight. There were three remaining games scheduled in the Playoff Round-Robin.

Read more in The Pictou Advocate.

Need to know
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Halifax Magazine