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Dear reader,

The last few weeks have been full of uncertainty for many of you in our eight-county distribution region when it comes to the COVID-19 coronavirus. We have been providing you with daily updates on how we've been covering the crisis here at The Inter-Mountain and the resources we have made available to you have hopefully kept you and your loved ones up-to-date and prepared in the coming weeks....

First of all, as you may or may not know, our office is currently not open to the public and a large portion of our staff is now working from home, with only essential employees at our main office in downtown Elkins. Our reporters will still be out and about covering events and bringing the latest and most important local news to you each day. Just as you are with your families, we are assessing each day on how to best keep our employees safe and healthy so that they can continue to bring you the latest local news on how COVID-19 is affecting and altering our way of life.

Second, we've devoted a large portion of our reporting resources to coverage of the coronavirus and that will continue. Over the past two weeks, for example, we've produced dozens of stories on how the virus is impacting our region. We've looked into and reported on how funerals are being handled now that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are requiring Americans to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people; we've talked with local nursing homes about how they are keeping their residents and staff safe, and also adjusting visitation policies so residents can stay in contact with their families. We've spoken with local restaurants on how they're adjusting to life with only delivery or to-go customers; and we've provided a daily list of cancellations and postponements of public events, blood drives and other gatherings so that you can remain informed.

We have many other important local stories planned for the coming days, including looking at how local doctors and nurses are using telehealth techonology to provide services to their patients during the pandemic; how local stores which have been deemed essential businesses are changing their policies to safely serve the public; and how local hospitals are dealing with an increase in patients that may have come in contact with the coronavirus.

To help you sort through all this information, we've also added a section on our website labeled "Following the Coronavirus," (www.theintermountain.com/news/coronavirus/), devoted solely to coverage of COVID-19. This section contains all of the latest local, state, national and international coverage of COVID-19 and how it is reshaping life across the globe. We're continually updating this section so you can remain informed on everything from business closings to new numbers of those testing positive for the virus.

Last, we ask that you and your loved ones stay safe as we collectively go through this challenging time. We will do our part to keep you as up-to-date as possible with local news from a staff that you can trust. Local news matters, now more than ever, and we work each day, in all that we do, to remain your trusted local news source.

Coronavirus

Safety

Researchers at West Virginia University have uncovered a startling reversal that should shake some rural Mountain State residents’ assumptions about their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is true that in the early stages of the pandemic, those in rural parts of the country were ...

W.Va. officials continue to stress COVID vaccines, boosters

WHEELING — Both the more potent delta variant of the COVID-19 virus and the waning benefits of the initial vaccinations have kept deaths from the virus high in West Virginia, state officials said. That makes getting vaccinated — and those who are vaccinated getting a booster shot — ...

W.Va. COVID numbers trending down

CHARLESTON — The number of active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in West Virginia over the last several weeks continue decrease, taking the state back to case numbers not seen since the first two week of August. According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, there ...

Panel backs low-dose vaccine for kids

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. moved a step closer to expanding COVID-19 vaccinations for millions more children as a panel of government advisers on Tuesday endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s shots for 5- to 11-year-olds. A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously, with ...

WVU Medicine delays vaccine mandate

WHEELING — Employees throughout WVU Medicine — including several local hospitals in the system — are looking at a delay on the system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. WVU Medicine has pushed the deadline for employees to get vaccinated at least until Jan. 21. Douglass Harrison, president ...

FDA OKs mixing COVID vaccines; backs Moderna, J&J boosters

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially. The Food and Drug ...

COVID numbers decreasing in W.Va.

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s number of active COVID-19 cases continued their downward trajectory, with hospitalizations beginning to follow suit. “The numbers are absolutely reflective of the fact that we’re going through the peak, and it looks like we’re starting to turn ...

Biden, McConnell get COVID-19 boosters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seventy-eight-year-old Joe Biden and 79-year-old Mitch McConnell got their booster shots Monday, the Democratic president and the Republican Senate leader urging Americans across the political spectrum to get vaccinated or plus up with boosters when eligible for the extra ...

U.S. has enough vaccines for boosters, kids’ shots

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they’re confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved ...

WVU expands indoor mask requirement

MORGANTOWN— West Virginia University is updating its mask guidelines. Beginning today, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors in all WVU System buildings and facilities through Oct. 6, when public health conditions will be ...

Biden’s vaccine rules ignite instant opposition

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s aggressive push to require millions of U.S. workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus is running into a wall of resistance from Republican leaders threatening everything from lawsuits to civil disobedience, plunging the country deeper into ...

W.Va. sets two daily records for positive COVID-19 cases

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia set two daily records in the past week for positive coronavirus cases as the pandemic continues to ravage the state. Thursday’s total of confirmed cases was a record 1,738, only to be broken by Saturday’s total of 1,821, according to state health data. The ...

Randolph County now averaging one COVID death per day

ELKINS — The increasing number of COVID-19 related deaths in the Randolph County and the inability to reach citizens who have tested positive for the virus is a growing concern for local health officials. The Randolph-Elkins Health Department confirmed the death of a 34-year-old male over ...

Masks mandated at W.Va. Bridge Day

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia’s largest annual festival will require most people in attendance to wear masks when Bridge Day is held this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic in America’s newest national park. Tens of thousands of people typically show up on the third Saturday of ...

Barbour County students going back to schools

PHILIPPI — After operating in remote learning mode last week due to COVID-19 concerns, Barbour County Schools officials announced that students will return to the classrooms today. Barbour County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Woofter posted the following information on social ...

Justice: Cold weather may worsen virus

CHARLESTON — The COVID-19 virus is going to get worse before it gets better with cold weather coming, the governor of West Virginia warned Monday. People are going to be inside more, according to Gov. Jim Justice at his Labor Day morning online pandemic briefing. “I personally ...

Randolph BOE approves student mask mandate

ELKINS — Students in Randolph County Schools will be required to wear masks to begin the new school year as part of a back-to-school plan officials hope will ensure the safety of students and staff. In response to a request from Superintendent Debbie Schmidlen, the Randolph County Board ...

State pushes for data and booster shots

CHARLESTON — West Virginia is continuing to push for a “Battlefield Booster Assessment” program that could lead to an additional COVID vaccination for state residents. The program was discussed during Gov. Jim Justice’s briefing with reporters on Wednesday. The Battlefield Assessment ...

Justice: No mask mandates for schools

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials said Tuesday they see nothing to warrant imposing statewide mask mandates on West Virginia’s K-12 schools or colleges and universities even with the risk of the Delta COVID-19 variant. “As of this moment in time right now, I ...

Justice hands out third $1M prize in vaccine giveaway

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice handed out the third $1 million prize for residents who have received coronavirus vaccines. The Republican governor presented Heather Coburn of Princeton with a ceremonial check on Wednesday. Coburn happens to work at a Bluefield car ...