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News of the Week - Jan 3-10 2021
News of the week for Chéticamp and surrounding areas, January 3rd to 10th, 2021.
- The province announced new border restrictions with New Brunswick. Starting on January 9th, anyone crossing the border will have to isolate for 14 days unless it’s for essential work, medical or legal reasons or to honour child custody arrangements. Dr. Robert Strang said the decision came after seeing New Brunswick face numerous new cases in the new year. “They are following several large clusters related to social activities over the holidays,” he said. “They’re now back to strict public-health measures province-wide.”
- On Tuesday, the provincial government gave more details about its COVID-19 vaccination plan. From January to April, the province will be immunizing health care workers who are closely involved in the COVID response. Staff and residents of long-term care homes will also be getting the vaccine – as well as seniors living in the community, starting with those who are 80 and older, followed by those who are 75 and more. According to the latest census, about 15% of the population in Chéticamp and surrounding areas is over 75. Healthcare workers who work directly with patients should receive their vaccine by the end of April.
Phase one of the plan will also serve to test strategies for transportation and the set up of vaccination clinics. Dr. Strang said the government will be looking into how different sectors can collaborate. “This is not just about public health-based clinics like we did in H1N1,” he said. “Public health needs to play a lead role. We have the expertise in this, but we need lots of other people. There are many other people in the health care system. Even beyond healthcare who already know how to deliver a needle. It may not be a vaccine needle. There are lots of people we can train who actually put a needle in somebody’s arm. But it’s no just putting a needle in somebody’s arm."
Public Health is looking into building on existing relationships with various regulatory colleges such as doctors', dentists' and veterinarians'. "We need to start to engage them and say what role they can potentially play in a broad range of vaccinators," Dr. Strang said, "And then, what role can communities play in volunteering to help support a vaccine clinic when it shows up in their community?”
- There were two potential COVID exposures in Cape Breton. One was at Fabricville on 356 Welton Street in Sydney on Saturday January 2nd between 9 and 10:15 am. The other was at the North Sydney Superstore on 125 King Street, on the same Saturday between 10 and 11:30 am. Nova Scotia Health recommends that anyone who was at those stores on the specified dates and times should get tested immediately.
- Inverness County is eyeing February 18th as the date to hold a public consultation on proposed changes to a zoning bylaw in Chéticamp.
In the last few months, some residents questioned the law allowing campgrounds of any size to be set up in residential areas. On the other side, some members of the business community defended those guidelines as being conductive to economic development. Following a public consultation in October, the Eastern District Planning Commission (EDPC) will be making a recommendation to municipal council on whether new campgrounds should be banned from the residential zone.
Residents will be able to provide feedback at the February meeting. It will be held on Zoom, but people will have the opportunity to show up in person at the Seniors’ Club, where everything will be set up for them to connect online. EDPC director John Bain said that although a virtual hearing isn’t ideal, safety comes first. “I think council is very interested in hearing what the public hears. So, hopefully nobody is intimidated by the Zoom format,” he said. “And if they are, they should get in contact with us. Because they could also make a written submission and have that before council at the public hearing."