The first prototype community vaccine clinic opens at the IWK Health Centre today, and runs four days.
At Friday’s COVID briefing, Dr. Robert Strang laid out the plan for vaccinating all people over 80, reports Yvette d’Entremont:
The province’s vaccine rollout is expanding with the creation of 10 community-based clinics open to Nova Scotians ages 80 and older.
On March 8, clinics will open in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro. Clinics will open in Antigonish, Halifax, and Yarmouth on March 15, followed by clinics in Amherst, Bridgewater, and Dartmouth on March 22.
Nova Scotians who are 80 or older as of March 1 will receive letters from MSI advising them how, where, and when to book an appointment. Those letters will be mailed out between Feb. 24 and March 5.
Anyone who turns 80 after March 1 can book on their eightieth birthday.
“About 48,000 Nova Scotians will receive a letter from MSI advising them that they are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine,” Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said during Friday’s briefing.
d’Entremont asked Strang about a story I reported last week:
The by-invitation-only clinic for people 80 years old and older who don’t live in nursing homes was the subject of a story in the Halifax Examiner on Thursday. Members of the Crichton Park community Facebook page figured out how to register their uninvited parents.
Asked about the incident during Friday’s briefing, Strang made his frustration clear. He said his department was made aware of the issue on Thursday, noting their objective with the prototype clinic was to identify 500 people, 80 and older, and get them immunized. He said they’re still going to do that, and plan to learn from it:
This is the only clinic where we’re going to have this special invitation approach. It’s unfortunate that some people kind of gamed the system, found a way to game the system and put themselves ahead of others who had gotten an invitation.
So for people that are doing that, I kind of say shame on you. All along throughout COVID, we’ve asked people to think about others first. Everybody will get a chance to get vaccinated. And the people who got a letter and are now disappointed because they now weren’t able to make an appointment at that clinic, I apologize for that.
Strang said he hoped anyone who missed out as a result of the incident is reassured by the fact they’ll get a chance to be immunized throughout the month of March.
2. The current state of the pandemic in NS
One new cases of COVID-19 was announced in Nova Scotia yesterday (Sunday, Feb. 21).
The case is in Nova Scotia Health’s Eastern Zone and is related to travel outside the province. It is a woman aged 60-79 who lives in the Cape Breton Community Health Network.
There are now 19 known active cases in the province. One person remains in hospital with the disease, and that person is in ICU.
The active cases are distributed as follows:
• 6 in the Halifax Peninsula / Chebucto Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 3 in the Dartmouth/ Southeastern Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 2 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 1 in the Colchester/ East Hants Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 2 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 1 in the Inverness, Victoria, and Richmond Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 3 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network in the Western Zone
• 1 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne, and Digby Community Health Network in the Western Zone
Nova Scotia Health labs conducted 1,698 tests Saturday.
Here are the new daily cases and seven-day rolling average (today at 2.3) since the start of the second wave (Oct. 1):
And here is the active caseload for the second wave:
Saturday night, Public Health issued the following potential COVID exposure advisory:
Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 at four locations in the Central Zone. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.Anyone who worked at or visited the following locations on the specified dates and times should immediately visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.For the following locations, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you are required to self-isolate while you wait for your test result. If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 you do not need to self-isolate while you wait for your test result.
- Sobeys (1120 Queen St, Halifax) on Feb. 16 between 12:30 p.m. and 1:50 p.m.It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 2.
- Dollarama (5657 Spring Garden Rd, Park Lane Mall, Halifax) on Feb. 18 between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 4.
- Black Market Boutique (1545 Grafton St, Halifax) on Feb. 19 between 10:30 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 5.
- Pro Skateboards & Snowboards (6451 Quinpool Rd, Halifax) on Feb. 19 between 2:00 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 5.
I’ve updated the potential exposure map:
3. Premier Rankin
“After Nova Scotia Lieutenant-Governor Arthur LeBlanc performs his ceremonial and socially distanced laying on of hands at the Halifax Convention Centre on Tuesday morning — instantly transforming Iain Rankin, the twice-elected MLA for Timberlea-Prospect, into Iain Rankin, the suddenly unelected premier of all he surveys — our 29th premier will get a first chance to make a lasting first impression on Nova Scotians,” writes Stephen Kimber:
After the lanky, boyish-looking 37-year-old won the Liberal Party leadership on Feb. 6 and earned the right to succeed the equally lanky but no longer boyish-looking 56-year-old Stephen McNeil, Rankin described himself as an “agent of generational change” and promised to be a “collaborative” leader.
Although he will arrive in office with his ambitious “six-pillars” reform agenda in his back pocket — “smart investments in infrastructure, modernized health care, an equitable economic recovery, bold climate action, social equity and racial justice” — the reality is that Rankin will need time to make good enough on any of those bold and progressive promises to reasonably justify seeking his own electoral mandate.
So, when he steps before the microphones — real or virtual, or virtually real — after the ceremony on Tuesday, Rankin will need to offer immediate, clear and convincing evidence he is not Stephen McNeil.
Allow me to offer a few modest suggestions for how he might accomplish that.
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4. Residential development next to mall
“Housing could be coming to the parking lot of the mall in Dartmouth, with council being asked to start a public consultation process for redevelopment,” reports Zane Woodford, referring to the area between Micmac Boulevard and Horizon Court:
That means it was identified as a good place for much higher population density than it has now, and the plan sets out a process, including public consultation, for determining exactly how much density.
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5. Mass murder inquiry
It’s been oddly under-publicized, so I just want to draw readers’ attention to the mass murder inquiry website, operated by “the mass casualty commission” — the “casualty” part of that is cop/military speak intended to include all victims — certainly those who were murdered on April 18 and 19, but also the three injured people, families of victims, and those otherwise traumatized.
The site includes a call for participants:
At this stage, the Commissioners want to know who would like to be heard by the Commission and why. This information will inform our planning of the schedule of meetings, roundtables, hearings, and other Commission activities needed to do our work, including opportunities for public engagement. This is not a prerequisite to participate in the Commission’s work—further information on how to participate will be available as the Commission’s schedule is confirmed. Information that you provide in the form will not be treated as evidence or become part of the evidentiary record.
6. Library funding
“Councillors have voted in favour of a 7.6% increase to the Halifax Public Libraries budget, and they’ll consider adding another $150,000 for e-books and food programs at the end of their budget process,” reports Zane Woodford:
Halifax Public Libraries’ chief librarian and CEO Åsa Kachan presented her proposed spending for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to council’s budget committee on Friday.
Kachan’s base budget request, in line with her target from municipal finance staff, was $23,330,000. That’s an increase of $1,655,500 from the 2020-2021 budget of $21,674,500. That was the budget for libraries after council made cuts due to COVID-19.
More than half of the increase is due to salary increases, comprising more than $875,000 of the extra $1.7 million, but there is also about $120,000 in reduced revenue from the libraries’ elimination of fines.
On top of the $23.3 million budget, Kachan asked councillors to consider adding two items to their budget adjustment list: $100,000 for “electronic resources” like e-books and audio books, and $50,000 for food programming, including snacks and lunches at libraries and cooking classes.
Saturday afternoon, Halifax police issued this release:
At 2:10 p.m., Halifax Regional Police responded to a reports of a single vehicle collision into a utility pole with an unconscious driver at Mount Edward Road / Cranberry Crescent, Dartmouth. Officers confirmed a shooting had taken place and the adult male driver sustained life-threatening injuries. Multiple officers are currently on scene, including K-9, and Forensic Identification members. We ask that people avoid the area.
Yesterday, police announced that the man had died, and the incident is considered a homicide:
The victim in yesterday’s weapons call succumbs to injuries and the death has been ruled as a homicide.
The driver injured in yesterday’s weapons call in the area of Mount Edward Road & Cranberry Crescent, Dartmouth has succumbed to his injuries overnight. The victim is a 25-year-old man from Dartmouth. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notifications to the victim’s next of kin.
An autopsy has been completed by the Medical Examiner and the manner of death has been ruled as homicide. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.
This morning, police are asking for the public’s assistance:
Homicide investigators with the Integrated Criminal Investigations Division are seeking assistance from members of the public who might have video images in their possession including dash camera footage from their vehicles yesterday, Saturday, February 20, 2021 between 2 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. for the following locations:
Main Street in Dartmouth and Westphal between Ridgecrest Drive and Lake Major Road;
Ridgecrest Drive in Dartmouth; and
Mount Edward Road in Dartmouth.
Members of the public in possession of these images are asked to call police at 902-490-5020.
1. Donald Cameron and Emera
“Donald Cameron became premier of Nova Scotia in 1991 the same way Iain Rankin is poised to become premier next Tuesday: by winning the leadership of his party (the Tories) after the elected premier (John Buchanan) stepped down,” writes Mary Campbell in the Cape Breton Spectator:
When Cameron did lead the party to the polls, in 1993, it was crushed by the Liberals under John Savage.
For a man who inherited the office and held it for only two years, though, Cameron certainly got a lot done — although you would never know it from this bio published by Dalhousie in 2019 when it named Cameron a distinguished alumnus of its Faculty of Agriculture (the Nova Scotia Agricultural College when Cameron attended). The anonymous author really sold him short, summing up his time as premier this way:
Among many of the changes he helped make, a highlight for Don included the first day he sat in the legislature as premier, his government introduced Human Rights legislation, which included equal rights for gays and lesbians, making NS one of the first places in North America to do so.
Even though this was a moment of pride for Don, he’s certainly not one to brag. He admits he is very humble…
There is none more humble than he who “admits” to being “very humble.”
…and always said he wanted the job, not the title.
Why is that admirable, exactly? Another way of putting it would be “I just wanted the power.”
And when asked about his career, his quick response is simple – he’s a farmer.
That’s right, just your average Nova Scotian farmer whose daily chores once included no-holds barred promotion of the Westray coal mine.
I get that it would have been a bummer to bring this up while declaring him a “distinguished alumnus” of your institution of higher learning, but limiting your discussion of his time as premier to a good thing he did on his first day is dishonest. Don’t worry though, I will correct this error with a little help from John DeMont, who covered Cameron’s appearance at the Westray Inquiry for Maclean’s:
It was vintage Donald Cameron. Last week, the former Conservative premier of Nova Scotia spoke of his integrity and strength of character before launching into a bout of finger-pointing. His onetime Liberal opposition, officials in his own government, Ottawa bureaucrats, even the dead miners themselves—he said these were the ones responsible for the disaster at the Westray coal mine in Plymouth, N.S., four years ago, which left 26 miners dead and helped drive his government into political oblivion. Rambling on before the inquiry, which he, as premier, had called into the disaster, he lashed out at the media and the inquiry itself for trying to link his ardent promotion of the project to the tragedy. Then, when the proceedings broke for lunch, Cameron, now Canada’s consul general in Boston, sprinted down a hallway, giddily taunting reporters with the words “what a bunch of fools,” as he climbed into a waiting car.
Yep, just your average, humble, farmer.
Who also privatized our power company, which is what I actually set out to write about this morning, because I’m one of those Nova Scotians — I’ve never done a proper census, but I believe us to be numerous — who can’t hear the name “Emera” without grumbling and shaking our fists in the general direction of Donald Cameron.
And indeed, Campbell goes on with a rage-induced diatribe against all things Emera, and then with a bizarre update on all things Anthony Marlowe, the owner of Sydney Call Centre and supporter of Donald Trump.
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I have no knowledge of the inner business workings of Saltwire or the Chronicle Herald, but I’ve long noticed that budget cuts, layoffs, and paper consolidations tend to occur at the end of the first quarter of every calendar year, so I’ve been privately expecting a massive downsizing of operations this March or April.
I don’t say that with any glee. People’s livelihoods are at stake, and for all its faults, Saltwire publications remain an important mainstay of news in much of the Maritimes. Any reductions in staff or operations is a loss for all of us.
But all the indicators point the wrong way. Even without the pandemic, advertising revenue for legacy newspapers has been declining precipitously; with the pandemic, as small businesses have taken an enormous hit, advertising revenue must have fallen off the cliff. And as pandemic-related government assistance programs for businesses are being curtailed or ended, I imagine Saltwire is taking an additional hit.
So it didn’t come as a surprise Friday, when Colin Chisholm, one of the editors at the Herald, tweeted that the Tri-County Vanguard and most of the other Saltwire weeklies will be closed at the end of March if certain subscriber targets aren’t met — in the case of the Vanguard, 1,500.
They need 1,500 paying print subscribers in order to be sustainable. If they don’t hit that number by March 31 of 2021, they’ll have to shut down.
We can’t let that happen.
So if you or anybody you know lives in that area – family, friends – please consider a subscription.
— Colin Chisholm (@ColinHantsCo) February 19, 2021
Chisholm didn’t say how many subscribers the Vanguard has now.
In January 2016, when the papers were owned by Transcontinental, that company created the Tri-County Vanguard by merging the Yarmouth Vanguard, the Digby Courier, and the Shelburne Coast Guard. Another Herald editor, Chris Lambie, says that in its 1970s’ heyday, the Yarmouth Vanguard employed a couple of hundred people. And the Vanguard has produced some great reporters, including Yvette d’Entremont, who now works with the Examiner; Tina Comeau, who is a Saltwire stalwart; Michael Gorman, now with the CBC; among many others.
As I say, I have no knowledge of Saltwire’s plans, so I don’t know whether closing the papers would include laying off staff, or if staff can be absorbed by the digital operation.
I don’t fault Chisholm at all for his plea for new subscribers. If the Halifax Examiner faced imminent closure, I’d certainly tell readers about it, and ask for their immediate help. It does strike me as odd, however, that the announcement didn’t come directly from Saltwire owners Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis.
I also don’t understand what the message is to advertisers. It appears to be along the lines of “our readership is so low your advertising budget is being wasted.” Not a good posture, I think.
In other local media news, Philip Croucher, the former editor at Star Halifax, has landed a job as “online Regional Managing Editor, Eastern Markets” for Global, which I understand is a new position. That means that all five editorial employees at the now-defunct Star Halifax are still working in journalism — Croucher is at Global, Yvette d’Entremont and Zane Woodford are at the Examiner, and Haley Ryan and Taryn Grant are at the CBC. So there’s still news and journalism jobs as the dead tree newspapers disappear.
Whenever I write about the demise of dead tree newspapers, a lot of readers respond by noting how important those dead tree newspapers are — not everyone has or can use the internet, there’s a certain “feel” to the paper that is reassuring, and so forth. I don’t disagree with any of that. I remember the days of the gigantic, thick daily newspaper fondly, and I too am unhappy to see them collapse.
But I just can’t see a business model that works for dead tree papers in the present day. Noting that fact isn’t celebrating their demise; it’s just being honest.
Like it or not, the future of news is digital. It was with that recognition that I started the Halifax Examiner back in 2014. We’ve been growing ever since, and we hope to continue that growth by hiring at least one new reporter this year. You can speed that process along by subscribing. Thanks!
Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am) — live webcast
Advisory Committee on Accessibility in HRM (Monday, 4pm) — virtual meeting; no live or dial-in broadcast
Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee (Monday, 4:30pm) — virtual meeting; no live or dial-in broadcast
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm) — live webcast, with live captioning on a text-only site
No public meetings.
Transforming Health for Nova Scotians through Research, Innovation, and Discovery: A Roadmap for Success (Monday, 12:30pm) — Zoom talk with Gail Tomblin Murphy, Doris Grant, Tara Sampalli, and Jordan Watford from Nova Scotia Health.
The health needs of our province are varied and pressing, requiring new system-wide solutions guided by an evidence-informed strategy. Nova Scotia Health’s Research, Innovation and Discovery team will share the story of how its mission to lead and facilitate research and innovation excellence to improve the health of Nova Scotians is changing the clinical landscape, moving the organization toward a learning health system. From new industry partnerships to focused supports for clinical trials and embedded scientists, you’ll gain an understanding of how the team is redefining innovation, improving access to care, and paving the path forward for rapid evidence implementation. Learn how our focus on collaboration, culture, and capacity can support your work and explore the many opportunities to partner as we launch into a new chapter of growth for our region.
Gap problems in higher dimensions: from Kronecker sequences to quantum oscillators (Monday, 3:30) — in the Math Zoom Room, Jens Marklof from Bristol University will explain that we can
Take a point on the unit circle and rotate it N times by a fixed angle. The N points thus generated partition the circle into N intervals. A beautiful fact, first conjectured by Hugo Steinhaus in the 1950s and proved independently by Vera Sós, János Surányi and Stanisław Świerczkowski, is that for any choice of N, no matter how large, these intervals can have at most three distinct lengths. In this lecture I will explore an interpretation of the three gap theorem in terms of the space of Euclidean lattices, which will produce various new results in higher dimensions, including nearest neighbour distances in multi-dimensional Kronecker sequences, free flights in the Lorentz gas, and quantum spectra of harmonic oscillators. The lecture is based on joint work with Alan Haynes (Houston) and Andreas Strömbergsson (Uppsala).
Bring your own quantum oscillator. More info here.
Orbispace Mapping Objects: Three Approaches, Two Results (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — Zoom ATCAT seminar, where Doreen Pronk from Dalhousie University will explain
Orbispaces are defined like manifolds, by local charts. Where manifold charts are open subsets of Euclidean space, orbifold charts consist of an open subset of Euclidean space with an action by a finite group (thus allowing for local singularities). This affects the way that transition between charts need to be described, and it is generally rather cumbersome to work with atlases. It has been shown in [Moerdijk-P] that one can represent orbifolds by groupoids internal to the category of manifolds, with etale structure maps and a proper diagonal. We have since generalized this notion further and we now consider orbispaces as represented by proper etale groupoids in the category of locally compact, paracompact topological spaces (they will also be called orbigroupoids). Two of these groupoids represent the same orbispace if they are Morita equivalent.
So we consider the bicategory of fractions with respect to Morita equivalences. For orbigroupoids G and H we can then consider the mapping groupoid [G, H] of maps and 2-cells in the bicategory of fractions. The question I want to address is how to define a topology on these mapping groupoids to obtain mapping objects for this bicategory. This question was addressed in [Chen], but not in terms of orbigroupoids, and with only partial answers.
I will approach this question from three different directions:
- When the orbifold G is compact, we can define a topology on [G,H] to obtain a topological groupoid OMap(G, H) so that Orbispaces(K × G, H) is equivalent to Orbispaces(K, OMap(G, H)). We will also show that OMap(G,H) represents an orbispace.
- For any pair of orbigroupoids G, H we can define a topology on [G,H] to obtain EMap(G,H) so that Orbispaces has the structure of an enriched bicategory: composition induces a continuous functor EMap(G,H) x EMap(H,K) –> EMap(G,K).
- There is a fibration structure on the category of orbigroupoids with groupoid homomorphisms as defined in [P-Warren]. (This can be derived from unpublished work by Colman and Costoya.) This implies that when G and H are stack groupoids, we may restrict ourselves to ordinary groupoid homomorphisms and their usual 2-cells.
In this talk I will discuss the relationships between the topologies obtained in these ways, as well as the relationship with Chen’s work. This is joint work with Laura Scull.
Faculty Challenging Anti-Black Racism Through Pedagogy (Monday, 7pm) — Zoom panel discussion with Deborah Brothers-Scott, Saint Mary’s University; John R. Sylliboy, Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance; Claudine Bonner, Acadia University; and Val Marie Johnson, Saint Mary’s University.
Remaking Retail: Distinguished Retailer Speaker Series (Tuesday, ) — Zoom webinar with Jeff Leger from Shoppers Drug Mart, author and consultant Steve Dennis, and Michael LeBlanc of M.E. LeBlanc & Company.
The Librarian Is In: Data (Tuesday, 3pm) — online workshop and drop-in session.
In the harbour
00:30: ZIM Luanda, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
05:00: Yantian Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11:00: Augusta Luna, cargo ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Mariel, Cuba
16:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Palm Beach, Florida
As usual, I’m running behind and late, but this morning I’ll be publishing an article from Jennifer Henderson. Come back!