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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

W.Va. to offer free at-home COVID-19 tests

CHARLESTON — State officials announced Wednesday another option for West Virginians to get tested for COVID-19 without leaving their homes. Gov. Jim Justice said the state would pay for COVID-19 tests that use saliva instead of nasal swabs that can be sent to residents’ homes instead of ...

Justice decries latest COVID-19 death numbers

CHARLESTON — As COVID-19 death totals in West Virginia continue their ghastly climb, Gov. Jim Justice expressed both his condolences and his frustration. According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, 778 West Virginians have died from the coronavirus as of Wednesday. Since ...

‘Captain Cindy’ battling impact of COVID-19

CLARKSBURG — In her 30-year career as a firefighter, Clarksburg Fire Department Captain Cindy Murphy has never encountered a public health challenge as far-reaching as the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus’ attack on the public’s health is more obvious than it’s impact on first ...

W.Va. sees worst month yet during COVID-19 crisis

CHARLESTON — With West Virginia closing the chapter on November and state officials expressing hope the vaccines can be distributed in December, the state experienced its worst month ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The bottom line is we can’t stop this today,” Gov. Jim Justice ...

Local health officials prep for vaccine

ELKINS — A local hospital has received a special freezer in preparation for storing a COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Monday. Due to Thanksgiving gatherings last week, another spike in already high COVID-19 numbers is expected in days to come and state and local officials are pleading ...

Justice calls for limits on elective surgeries as COVID-19 surges

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice said Monday that after conversations with major hospital leaders and the West Virginia Hospital Association, elective surgeries will be limited due to shrinking bed capacity at state hospitals. Justice made the announcement Monday during his COVID-19 ...

Cases projected to increase in December

CHARLESTON — With the Thanksgiving holiday expected to bring together groups of family and friends despite pleas to limit gatherings, state officials worry about the continue rise of COVID-19 infections. According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, the state saw 967 new ...

W.Va. may receive vaccine within weeks

CHARLESTON — As the possibility of as many as three COVID-19 vaccines being given the green light by federal regulators becomes closer to reality, state officials released additional information on how those vaccines would be distributed. Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday the state could ...

Federal judge upholds state mask mandate

CHARLESTON — In his fifth court victory challenging his executive order authority during a pandemic state of emergency, a federal judge ruled Monday that Gov. Jim Justice’s mask mandate was reasonable. All while Morgantown bar owners appeal a similar ruling. U.S. District Judge Robert ...

Special Delivery

PHILIPPI — A Virginia teenager who has been honored at the White House for providing supplies to hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic personally flew in boxes of personal protective equipment for Broaddus Hospital on Tuesday. The efforts of T.J. Kim, a 16-year old from McLean, ...

Randolph Co. Schools to begin B.O.A.T. routes

ELKINS — Randolph County Schools will begin new Bus Operator Assistance Team, or B.O.A.T., routes next week, designed to help students and parents send in schoolwork or communicate with the schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The B.O.A.T. routes will allow “parents/students may ...

Randolph child COVID-19 cases rising

ELKINS — Local and state officials are pleading with the public to be extra cautious this week as positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise and death numbers are still climbing in West Virginia. As of Monday afternoon, there were 132 positive active cases in Randolph County, a jump from the ...

West Virginia conducts more than 1 million COVID-19 tests

CHARLESTON — West Virginia continues to post significant COVID-19 testing numbers, with more than 40,000 test results reported over the weekend and more than 1 million tests since the pandemic first started. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the total ...

French Creek Elementary staff member tests positive

BUCKHANNON — The following press statement from Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Sara Stankus was released Friday evening: “Families, Students, Staff of Upshur County Schools: “Upshur County Schools and the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department received confirmation that a ...

State prepares for possible vaccine distribution

CHARLESTON — With West Virginia’s COVID-19 cases at record highs, Gov. Jim Justice said the announcement that a vaccine could be available for limited distribution in December was much-needed news. Speaking during his Friday coronavirus briefing, Justice said the state is prepared to ...

Justice responds to mask litigation

CHARLESTON — In federal court documents, an attorney for Gov. Jim Justice argued against a request by a Putnam County business for a restraining order to halt an expanded executive order requiring masks in indoor public places. Attorney Ben Bailey, the outside counsel representing the ...

State struggling to meet health needs

CHARLESTON — As the need for greater testing capacity increases, state agencies tasked with helping county health departments with testing events struggled to keep up with demand during the early days of the most recent coronavirus surge, though the state quickly caught up. Almost a quarter ...

Upshur going to remote learning until 2021

BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to go to remote learning until Jan. 4, 2021, after discussing rising COVID-19 case numbers in the county and the uncertainty the community faces each week waiting on the school COVID-19 map. Upshur County Schools ...

W.Va. unemployment rate drops to near pre-pandemic levels

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is nearly back to where it was in March as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to cause shutdowns of businesses. According to WorkForce West Virginia Tuesday, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for ...