“A new national study involving the collection of blood samples is expected to shed light on the number of children and youth in Canada who’ve been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:
“We still don’t know how many kids have been infected up to this point, and the rate of infection going forward has a lot of importance for public health policy,” Dr. Soren Gantt said in an interview Thursday.
Gantt said collecting this data is particularly important in light of a significant nationwide reduction in routine COVID-19 lab testing that makes it difficult to gauge the true number of infections — especially in a cohort that tends to experience mild disease or can be infected but asymptomatic.
“There are also some concerns about the possibility of long-COVID symptoms in kids and without knowing how many kids are infected, it’s hard to say what proportion of them will have sequelae like that,” Gantt said.
Click here to read “New national study to learn more about COVID infection among Canadian children, youth.”
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia has reported zero new deaths for the most recent reporting period, Sept. 27 – Oct. 3.
This is the first week with no new COVID deaths since the week ending Aug. 1. While this is tentatively good news, recall that the 0 count for Aug. 1 was later revised upwards in the monthly counts. As well, I don’t know if Fiona may have led to delays in reporting of deaths.
Through the pandemic, 544 Nova Scotians have died from COVID, 432 of whom are considered Omicron deaths (since Dec. 8, 2021).
Additionally, for the same Sept. 27 – Oct. 3 reporting period, 51 people were hospitalized because of COVID.
Nova Scotia Health reports the status of COVID hospitalization as of yesterday:
• in hospital for COVID: 43 (5 of whom are in ICU)
• in hospital for something else but have COVID: 148
• in hospital who contracted COVID after admission: 123
These figures do not include any (if any) children hospitalized at the IWK.
Also, for the reporting period, there were 1,178 lab-confirmed (PCR tests) new cases, a slight increase from previous weeks. This is not a great metric as many people either can’t or don’t bother to get PCR tests.
2. Quilt of Valour
“A retired member of the Royal Canadian Navy, who was recently recognized for his 38 years of miltary service, said he’d like to see more Black members of the military be honoured for their service, too,” reports Matthew Byard:
On Sunday, Perry Colley was presented with a Quilt of Valour by the Quilts of Valour-Canada Society whose mission is to recognize and support injured members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Click here to read “Nova Scotia navy veteran receives Quilt of Valour for military service.”
3. Abolitionist Intimacies
El Jones has written a book, collecting a series of poems and essays, some originally published by the Halifax Examiner.
The blurb from Fernwood Press:
In Abolitionist Intimacies, El Jones examines the movement to abolish prisons through the Black feminist principles of care and collectivity. Understanding the history of prisons in Canada in their relationship to settler colonialism and anti-Black racism, Jones observes how practices of intimacy become imbued with state violence at carceral sites including prisons, policing and borders, as well as through purported care institutions such as hospitals and social work. The state also polices intimacy through mechanisms such as prison visits, strip searches and managing community contact with incarcerated people. Despite this, Jones argues, intimacy is integral to the ongoing struggles of prisoners for justice and liberation through the care work of building relationships and organizing with the people inside. Through characteristically fierce and personal prose and poetry, and motivated by a decade of prison justice work, Jones observes that abolition is not only a political movement to end prisons; it is also an intimate one deeply motivated by commitment and love.
I’m waiting impatiently to get my advance copy so I can comment on it, but in the meanwhile, you can read Evelyn C. White’s review of Abolitionist Intimacies here.
Fernwood has very kindly extended a special offer for Examiner readers: You can get a 20% discount by preordering the book here, and using the discount code HFX20 on checkout.
There will be a launch party on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7pm at Alumni Hall on the University of King’s College campus.
4. More Fiona relief
The province has added a new Fiona relief program for small businesses. Grants of up to $2,500 are available for small businesses (defined as those with less than $5 million in annual revenue) that experienced unexpected closures during Fiona. Eligibility and forms here.
See the previously announced relief programs here.
5. Space is a bad investment
Doug Messier, who writes about the commercial space industry, space tourism, and related issues, has looked at the financial performance of space companies that went public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC):
Every one of the space companies that went public by merging with a blank check company is currently trading lower than what it was at its debut. In most cases, significantly lower.
You’ll recall that Maritime Launch Services (MLS), the company behind the proposed Canso space port, was courted by a SPAC called Ceres Acquisitions, but Ceres investors objected to the deal, evidently because they thought it was a ridiculously risky gamble.
In the aftermath of that failed courtship, MLS went public on the NEO Exchange on Apr. 25 of this year. Its opening price was 17.5 cents per share, falling to a low of 10 cents on Aug. 1. After the company announced it had received provincial approval for construction at the Canso site, the stock price rose to a high of 19 cents on Aug. 22, but it has since dropped almost 40%, to 11.5 cents.
Such volatility should be expected in extremely speculative ventures, so that in itself isn’t an indication that the company will fail. On the other hand, at least so far as the market is concerned, there doesn’t seem to be much of an appetite for space companies generally. My read is that that’s because the current space industry is a pretty classic case of too many companies chasing a limited opportunity — recall the .com boom of the 1990s.
These things have a way of settling down after a while; most companies fail spectacularly, but then a handful of very large companies are big winners. My guess is that Space X — which love it or hate it, is already launching lots of rockets and demonstrates the ability to successfully bring new products to the industry — will be the Google of the space race.
Obviously, I am not a financial expert and no one at all should take my advice on such matters.
6. Sexual assault, hockey, and Michael McNutt
On Monday, the Globe & Mail reported on the existence of previously secret Participants Legacy Trust Fund at Hockey Canada — in which the “legacy” was sexual assault:
Several years after Hockey Canada began using player registration fees to build a large financial reserve known as the National Equity Fund to cover sexual assault claims and other lawsuits, it channelled a significant portion of that money into a second multimillion-dollar fund for similar purposes.
Known as the Participants Legacy Trust Fund, the reserve was created by the organization and its members with more than $7.1-million from the National Equity Fund. The money was earmarked “for matters including but not limited to sexual abuse,” according to Hockey Canada documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.
The trust, with its vaguely worded name, is another example of a large financial reserve created by Hockey Canada and its member branches to cover sexual assault claims, among other things, with funds gathered from hockey registration fees, without fully disclosing to parents and players how their money was ultimately being used.
In response, Hockey Nova Scotia issued a statement yesterday:
Members of the Hockey Nova Scotia board of directors have been closely monitoring the actions of Hockey Canada in recent months and have expressed concerns to the national governing body during this period of time.
In their latest step, Hockey Nova Scotia’s board of directors met today for an emergency meeting.
Following that meeting, the board issued the following statement:
Hockey Nova Scotia has lost confidence in Hockey Canada’s senior leadership.
Hockey families and non-hockey families alike agree: Change is needed at the highest levels of the game.
Therefore, Hockey Nova Scotia is formally suspending the transfer of participant assessment fees to Hockey Canada for the 2022-23 season.
Until our values at Hockey Nova Scotia are reflected by Hockey Canada’s senior leadership, we simply cannot support hockey’s national governing body.
Hockey Nova Scotia remains committed to working with our dedicated network of volunteers across the province to offer the best programs possible for our membership.
The CBC reports that “Hockey Canada has engaged with what it feels ‘is an effective insurance carrier who knows the needs of our organization for policy coverage in the areas of commercial general liability, sexual misconduct liability, directors and officers liability, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.’”
Insurance payments to victims of sexual assault are not by themselves a problem — for a variety of perfectly legitimate reasons, not all victims will want to involve police in the matter, although some do. People who fall in both categories should be able to obtain financial recompense — it doesn’t cancel out the pain, but it might help with receiving care and rebuilding, and it should (although evidently doesn’t) prompt Hockey Canada to better control players.
What the problem is, however, is that the insurance payments were secret. No one wants the victims to be named, of course, but the totality and extent of the payments should have been public knowledge.
Hockey Nova Scotia is now taking the right move, but as I read these statements and articles I can’t help but recall Michael McNutt, the Halifax school teacher and hockey coach who sexually assaulted dozens of boys over a 20-year period. As I reported in 2020:
While McNutt was a teacher, from 1977 to 1994, he additionally was the coach on many sports teams. The Agreed Statement of Facts lists some of them, but notes that there may be others; they are:
Sir Robert Borden Hockey Team
Pee Wee and Bantam football – Fort Needham Minor Football Association
Dartmouth Minor Baseball
Dartmouth Minor Baseball, Bantam A
Dartmouth Minor Baseball Team
Halifax Capitals Bantam C Hockey
Summer Hockey League
Brunswick Invitational Hockey Tournament
Dartmouth Baseball Team
Halifax Capitals Hockey
The Halifax Examiner had previously obtained an investigative report about the McNutt case mistakenly released by the Halifax Regional Police Department. At the department’s request, we agreed not to make details of that report public. We will, however, note that it contains an allegation by a witness that McNutt was “removed” from his position with one of the sports organizations, presumably because its officials were aware of McNutt’s abuse of children. So far as can be determined, that organization did not call the police.
I’m having a hard time squaring sports officials ignoring the long history of sexual assault of players with the current rightful concern about sexual assault by players. They seem of a kind. Yes, McNutt’s sexual assaults are “historic,” but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored, and so far as I know, no one associated with Hockey Nova Scotia or the team named by police has made any public effort whatsoever to redress the team’s knowing decision to “pass the trash” from its coaching staff to another team. That conscious, informed decision allowed McNutt to continue to sexually assault children.
Of course, the hockey team is not alone in this regard. Churches, schools, other sports teams, etc. regularly avoid alerting police to known sexual predators with the perverse calculus that the public reputational harm to the institution would be worse than continued private sexual assaults of individual children.
7. ER closures
This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.
The ongoing shortage of nurses and doctors means 13 communities in primarily rural areas will experience emergency department closures at local hospitals this holiday weekend. This will increase the pressure on emergency services at larger regional hospitals and the Halifax Infirmary.
Emergency Department Temporary Closures Thanksgiving Weekend
Digby General Hospital, Digby — closed Friday and Monday
Fishermen’s Memorial, Lunenburg — closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 1pm- 730am each day
Queens General Hospital, Liverpool — closed Friday, 130pm until Monday 8am
Hants Community Hospital, Windsor — closed Saturday, 8am-7 pm; Monday, 8am -7pm
Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Middleton — closed after 1:30pm each day
Annapolis Emergency Centre, Annapolis Royal — closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday
Twin Oaks Hospital, Musquodoboit Harbour — closed Friday 8am-8 pm and Sunday 8am-8pm
Eastern Shore Hospital, Sheet Harbour — closed Saturday, Sunday, Monday
Strait Richmond Hospital, Cleveland — closed Friday
Lillian Fraser Hospital, Tatamagouche — closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday
All Saints Hospital, Springhill — closed Saturday and Sunday
North Cumberland Hospital, Pugwash — closed Saturday and Sunday
Parrsboro Urgent Treatment, Parrsboro — closed Monday
More info here.
Exploring and Exploiting Reactive Intermediates in Aminocatalysis (Friday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Rebecca Davis from the University of Manitoba will talk.
Moving in Mi’kma’ki (Friday, 2:30pm, Studio 2, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — workshop with Sarah Prosper:
Moving in Mi’kma’ki invites you, a mover, artist, dancer, and person who wants to learn about the land we live from in Mi’kma’ki. The Mi’kmaq language, elder relation teachings, and Indigenous based movement will be an integral component of our welcoming learning space for ALL.
Vaping and the Adolescent Brain: Long-term effects on behaviour and neural connectivity (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 5260, Life Sciences Centre) — Jibran Khokhar from Western University will talk
My Past and Thoughts (with Apologies to Alexander Herzen) (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, McCain Building and online) — Norman Pereira will talk. More info here; MS Teams link here.
In the harbour
07:00: Silver Whisper, cruise ship with up to 466 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Sydney, on an 11-day cruise from Quebec City to New York
07:15: Polar Circle, tug/ice breaker, arrives at Pier 9 from New York
09:00: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship with up to 2,100 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Bar Harbor, on a 12-day roundtrip cruise out of Boston
10:00: Acadian, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
10:30: Norwegian Breakaway, cruise ship with up to 4,819 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
11:30: Tulane, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
15:00: ZIM Vancouver, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
15:30: Silver Whisper sails for Bar Harbor
16:30: Celebrity Summit sails for Quebec City
17:00: Hyundai Force, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
18:00 Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
19:30: Norwegian Breakaway sails for New York
20:00: Polar Circle moves to anchorage #11 (upper Bedford Basin)
Cruise ships this weekend in Halifax
Saturday: Norwegian Prima (up to 3,950 passengers)
Sunday: no arrivals
06:30: Seven Seas Navigator, cruise ship with up to 550 passengers, arrives at Sydney anchorage from Shelburne, on an 11-day cruise from New York to Montreal
06:30: Voyager of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,099 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Saint John, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of Boston
07:30: Amera, cruise ship with up to 835 passengers, arrives at Liberty Pier from Charlottetown, on a 38-day roundtrip cruise out of Bremerhaven, Germany
09:30: MM Newfoundland, barge, and Lois M, tug, arrive at Sydport from Cap-aux-Meules (Grindstone) Magdalen Islands
16:00: CSL Argosy, bulker, sails from Coal Pier (Sydney) for sea
16:00: Algoma Value, bulker, arrives at Coal Pier (Sydney) from Baltimore
17:00: Voyager of the Seas sails for Boston
17:00: Amera sails for Saint-Pierre
18:30: Seven Seas Navigator sails for Corner Brook
No cruise ships this weekend in Sydney.
Long weekend. See you Tuesday.
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I was going to use some power tools this weekend but that seems ill advised now given that 2 of 3 local hospital ERs will be closed.
I’ve seen zero coverage of this by major news outlets…most people probably aren’t even aware of the ER closures and I’m sure the gov isn’t going to be very quick on the draw attention to it.
Our business-obsessed government should note that closing ERs in rural areas over a long weekend does not encourage day-trips out of the city, and could result in negative publicity if out-of-province or out-of-country tourists note the lack of healthcare facilities.