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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

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 ...

Randolph COVID numbers hold steady

ELKINS — Local health officials reported on Tuesday that active COVID-19 case numbers held steady in Randolph County for a second straight week, once again just missing out on a return to single digits. “We’re getting close to getting back to single digits, so things are looking ...

2021 EHS graduate receives Civil Air Patrol scholarship

CHARLESTON — More than a million West Virginians have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, contributing to the continual decrease in active cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Gov. Jim Justice said on Tuesday. According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, 1,005,135 ...

70K register for vaccine sweepstakes

CHARLESTON — About 70,000 residents have so far registered for the COVID-19 vaccination sweepstakes in West Virginia, the governor said on Tuesday. The incentive to encourage residents to get vaccinated against the plague includes the chance to win money, trucks, get-aways in West Virginia, ...

Randolph COVID-19 cases near 100

ELKINS — With active COVID-19 cases in Randolph County continuing to rise and approaching triple digits, local health officials are again stressing the importance of vaccinations. For the second consecutive week, the number of active coronavirus cases in the county has nearly doubled. Two ...

29-year-old among W.Va. COVID deaths

CHARLESTON — A 29-year-old man is among the deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported on Friday. The man is from Mineral County and is among the five deaths from the virus reported by the department in its Friday morning ...

Justice: mask mandate lifted for vaccinated

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Friday he is lifting the face covering mandate for residents who are fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Justice was reacting to the recommendations on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control that said people who have been ...

Randolph Co. COVID cases double in a week

ELKINS — Active COVID-19 cases doubled in Randolph County in the past week, and health officials are growing increasingly concerned. A total of 53 positive cases in Randolph County were confirmed Monday, which is double that of the 26 reported last week. “Only three of the active ...

Vaccine effort stresses patriotism

CHARLESTON — State officials Monday encouraged unvaccinated residents to step up like the generation of Americans during World War II and get immunized against COVID-19. James Hoyer, director of the Joint Interagency Task Force on Vaccine and the retired general of the West Virginia ...

Common sense and masks

WASHINGTON — Just as the vaccine campaign against the coronavirus pandemic appears to be making progress, the chief White House official leading the effort has thrown a potential monkey wrench into the drive. She says that for those who are vaccinated, masks outdoors are no longer ...

COVID cases on the rise in Randolph

ELKINS — Like most of West Virginia, Randolph County is seeing the number of active coronavirus cases rising. Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, said the increase in the county’s numbers is due to residents no longer doing what they ...

Justice addresses vaccine hesitancy

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice has several ideas for getting the remaining unvaccinated portion of West Virginia’s eligible population to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but very few specific plans to accomplish this goal. When asked about whether the state had a specific plan for vaccine ...

Justice to offer incentives for youth vaccinations

CHARLESTON — In order to help get over the wall of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and help incentivize eligible teenagers and young adults, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that the state could give out savings bonds in exchange for shots in arms. During his Monday COVID-19 briefing at the ...

Move Forward

If you had trouble keeping track of all the executive orders issued by Gov. Jim Justice during the pandemic — 91 of them — you are not alone. But the governor has made an effort to clean all that up, and last week issued a new order that canceled some of the outdated orders while clarifying ...

COVID-19 vaccines to be available at state tourneys

CHARLESTON (AP) — Fans attending the West Virginia girls and boys state basketball tournaments will have the chance to get their COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines will be administered starting Tuesday at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department ...

Justice sets COVID-19 vaccine goal to remove mask mandates

CHARLESTON — To help encourage reluctant West Virginians to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, Gov. Jim Justice set a vaccine goal Wednesday for the state, with elimination of indoor mask mandates as the prize. “We’ve still got a ways to go,” Justice said during his Wednesday ...

Vaccination clinics to come to end

ELKINS — Local health officials announced Monday the COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics that have been held weekly at the Phil Gainer Community Center would be coming to an end as the number of confirmed cases in Randolph County has increased from 11 last week to 15 currently. The regional ...

Justice cleans up executive orders

CHARLESTON — After 12 months of dozens of executive orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday he would issue a new executive order canceling outdated executive orders and providing clarity as the pandemic continues. “It can be confusing for the public ...

Demand slowing for vaccinations

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials pleaded with the public Friday to get a COVID-19 vaccine as supply of the vaccines becomes greater than the demand. “There has never been a vaccine that is this productive and this successful. Never,” Justice said. “You would ...