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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

Contact tracing: Are contacts legally required to help?

In hopes of slowing down the spread of the coronavirus, health departments across the country have turned to contact tracing. Finding those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and monitoring their symptoms is being done by epidemiologists from state to state. Melanie Myers, public ...

Officials urge residents to be ‘extra careful’

ELKINS — Although COVID-19 cases in Randolph County do not seem to be on the rise, local officials are still warning residents to take every precaution necessary to help control the disease, which is growing more prominent in other areas of West Virginia now. “People should be taking ...

Southern W.Va. counties becoming hot spots

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials echoed concerns from federal officials about the spread of the novel coronavirus into rural areas as counties on the southern border are seeing hotspots. “The biggest concern and worry that I have at this moment is the migration ...

United Way auction moving to online

ELKINS — Due to overwhelming safety concerns with COVID-19, the United Way of Randolph County will take a different approach with its biggest fundraiser of the year. The Kick-Off Auction is traditionally held on a Saturday at the First United Methodist Church of Elkins, but this year’s ...

W.Va. sees deadliest week since April

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Friday ended the week with the most COVID-19 deaths since the middle of April, along with record numbers of new cases and hospitalizations. According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, 13 people have died from infections of the novel coronavirus. One ...

Gov. Justice receives support for C.A.R.E.S. Act funding handling

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice again Friday defended his stewardship of more than $1.25 billion meant to help state and local governments with expenses from the coronavirus pandemic. Justice, joined Friday by Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce at his pandemic briefing, praised a report from the ...

State monitoring delays in test results

CHARLESTON — With more West Virginians being tested for the novel coronavirus, the state’s team of medical professionals and public health experts are concerned about possible lag times between COVID-19 tests and the test results. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, diagnostic ...

Pre-teens adjust to living during COVID-19 pandemic

Being a kid or a teen has its ups and downs — and that’s even without having to endure a global pandemic. Adjusting to not seeing friends for several months during the COVID-19 quarantine period has been hard for some young people, but others say it’s actually been a stress ...

Nursing home accuses state of not helping with testing

CHARLESTON — A nursing home in southern West Virginia at the center of an outbreak of the novel coronavirus accused the state Wednesday of not rushing to help test residents and staff. According to the governor’s office, Princeton Health Care Center in Mercer County reported an ...

Upshur BOE looks at going to a modified school schedule

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Schools is now considering a modified schedule for all schools based on discussion at this week’s Upshur County Board of Education special meeting. No decisions were made and the board is not scheduled to meet again until Aug. 11 — three days before ...

Manchin weighs in on H.E.A.L.S. Act

CHARLESTON — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., says he hopes to see some improvements to the new coronavirus relief bill drafted by Republican members of the U.S. Senate, while he also accused W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice of using money from the most recent relief package as a “slush ...

Test Results

People infected with COVID-19 can recover — or, of course, experience life-threatening illness — within 10-14 days after becoming infected. What good, then, is a test for the disease if results are not obtainable for 10 days or more? Precious little, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday, adding ...

1 Randolph virus case attributed to community spread

ELKINS — With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the Mountain State, Randolph County’s numbers appear to be on an even keel, with a bulk of the 201 confirmed cases to date coming from the now-contained outbreak at Huttonsville Correctional Center. However, one current ...

Serenity House gets new lease as recovery outlet for women

BUCKHANNON —Serenity House is getting a new lease as a recovery house for women only. Opportunity House, Inc. provides supportive housing programs and recovery support services to individuals in recovery. That includes the main Opportunity House which houses men in a residential ...

WVU announces reopening protocols

CHARLESTON — Campus life for students, professors and staff at West Virginia University will be different in the age of COVID-19, but WVU President Gordon Gee is encouraging the campus community to hang in there. “As we near the end of July, we are over halfway through the year, I am ...

Capito: Pandemic affecting addiction issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday to highlight how the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating our nation’s addiction fight. “The past several months have been difficult for all of us,” Capito said. “However, for someone in ...

Barriers

For several weeks, it appeared West Virginians were doing a good job protecting residents of long-term care facilities — the people most vulnerable to COVID-19 — from the disease. But as the coronavirus sets new infection records in many counties, it may be time to worry that we have let ...

Randolph BOE completes plans for school re-entry

ELKINS — Randolph County Schools has completed a final re-entry plan for the upcoming school year under which students and families can expect to see a modified schedule for at least four weeks. Debbie Schmidlen, superintendent for RCS, said she, county school principals and central Board ...

Justice to help fairs, festivals shut down

CHARLESTON — After being halted, allowed to resume, and halted again, Gov. Jim Justice announced plans Monday to help state fairs and festivals shuttered due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. “It is essential that we preserve our arts and expand our arts, because that is who we ...