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As of this morning there were 149 new cases, 75 in hospital, and 15 in ICU. Some of these cases are still from the backlog which they hope will be cleared up by end of day. Premier Rankin announced that the Province will be adding to the Federal sick benefit in hopes to fill in some of the gaps. The Paid Sick Leave program will help workers who can not work remotely and have lost less than 50% of their weekly hours due to COVID stay home while awaiting test results, getting tested, or self isolating. Rankin also announced that the Nova Scotia Government would be pausing the AstraZeneca vaccine until further research analysis was completed. Dr Strang added that some ICU patients in the central zone had to be transferred to other hospitals due to capacity limits. He also explained another rule change regarding the travel ban. Current mandate states that residents can only travel outside their county for medical, legal, family arrangement, or work reasons (to this he also stated that this mandate was because people don’t listen). However, in light of recent questions about helping someone move, or picking up an already ordered parcel, etc., he is advising that people use their common sense in deciding what is a necessity for them. Strang did point out that leisurely activities could be done in ones own county. Both Rankin and Strang wished Muslim Nova Scotians a happy Ramadan.

Is it just me or do this briefings keep getting shorter? And why does our Premier have less to say, substantially, than our chief medical officer? Ranking is always leaning on the desk, slouched, trying to not lose his place while reading notes; notes which he often seems to be reading verbatim. There was once again so many mentions about getting tested if you so much as walk out your front door, that I am going to start counting them from now on. They also both seemed to really struggle with the pronunciation of “Ram-a-dam” (Ramadan).

The Reporter Question of the day was “Do you think the numbers go up or down tomorrow?”. Asking politicians to predict the future isn’t exactly what I would call a hard-hitting question – Though Strang has often tried and failed to predict the numbers. It seems the poor weather today interfered with Strang’s crystal ball, as he wasn’t able or willing to offer a prognostication.

There were a surprising number of good questions today. Strang was reminded that he, and other public health officials, had previously said that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you. He was asked how he felt about that now after learning about the potential dangers of AstraZeneca. Strang insisted he never said that and that he always warned people of the potential side-effects and urged them to decide for themselves.

It’s not the first time he’s been asked about that statement by reporters. The other Reporters and I must be experiencing a group hallucination. In my own apparent flight of fancy He said that blood clots happen with AstraZeneca, but not enough to worry about. Apparently, now it’s enough to worry about. But I’ll move on.

The CCLA has raised concerns about the constitutionality of the Provinces travel ban. Justification to this ban was that since it’s a pandemic and the Premier’s legal team said it was ok (it’s not). In the Margret Miller debacle, one reporter quoted Rankin from Monday saying that if someone has an allegation with a member of my staff to bring it to him or follow the process. This reporter claims that Miller told him that she did speak with the Premier right after won the liberal leadership. Rankin doubles down insisting, just shy of saying she lied, that he was never notified.

All in all, this was a mostly typical briefing. Both Rankin and Strang used every opportunity they could to pin the blame for lockdowns on people not following the rules, and to push people to the brink of sheer terror to make sure they get tested “regularly and often”. Strang has just enough information to scare people, but when asked specifics he differs to other departments. And Rankin actually looked confused at times when a question was posed to him. The next briefing is on Friday at 1pm and I should have my notes up on it shortly after.

Until next time,

?Woah black betty, Ram-a-Dam