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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

West Virginia coronavirus case numbers, deaths decrease

CHARLESTON — West Virginia is showing signs of slowing the COVID-19 virus after nearly three months of case spikes, with positive cases, deaths, and the rate the virus spreads all trending downward. “I think we are doing better, but we are cautious about that and very concerned ...

Teachers’ union files injunction to halt school re-entry map and metrics

CHARLESTON — Making good on its promise last week, the West Virginia Education Association announced Monday that it had filed an injunction to block the current version of metrics used to make school re-opening decisions. The WVEA, one of two unions that represent public school teachers ...

Just can’t game the system

All right folks, allow me to continue my weekly countdown to the 2020 general election. As of today, we are less than 30 days away from Tuesday, Nov. 3. By the time you read this, I will have written campaign profiles of every Board of Public Works race except for the governor’s race (I’m ...

Record test results bring state positivity rate down

CHARLESTON — West Virginia broke a record Thursday for the most COVID-19 test results in one day, helping to bring the state’s positivity rate down, helping counties with high case numbers possibly re-open their schools, and identifying super-spreaders of the virus. According to the ...

Upshur County moves to orange

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County was classified as orange Thursday on the state Department of Health & Human Resources COVID-19 color map. Free community testing will be provided today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School parking lot. Also today, another free ...

Vital Duty

Thoughtful area residents understand how important the Nov. 3 election will be not just to the nation, but to each and every one of us personally. Voting this year is important — but it also will be more difficult for many. Blame COVID-19 for that. Many people who normally would have gone ...

Randolph schools adjusts schedule

ELKINS — The Randolph County Board of Education changed its blended learning schedule this week so that students will attend school just one day next week. The change is intended to provide more time for teachers outside the classroom. Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Debbie ...

Barbour moves to orange

PHILIPPI — Barbour County has moved up the state’s COVID-19 color map and is now classified as orange, according to the state Department of Health & Human Resources. Barbour County was one of only three counties in the state classified as orange on Wednesday, along with Kanawha ...

More concerns raised over state school re-entry metrics

CHARLESTON — More legal pressure is being brought to bear on West Virginia over the recent updates to the color-coded map and metrics that determine if schools can open for in-person learning, with one teachers union calling the map an “illusion.” Gov. Jim Justice responded Wednesday ...

Color Changes

State officials are to be applauded for changing the method by which they rate the COVID-19 threat in West Virginia counties. It appears to be a more realistic guide than what was used previously. But it also may be misleading to some people. This week’s map shows most counties in the ...

Upshur County Schools student tests positive

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Schools officials announced Tuesday that a student in the county school system has tested positive for COVID-19. The school system is working closely with the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department to carry out contact tracing of those who have been in contact ...

Unique Commencement

ELKINS — As most graduation ceremonies went virtual this year, one small liberal arts college in West Virginia made good on its promise to give the Class of 2020 an in-person commencement. The ceremony for Davis & Elkins College graduates took place in the fall instead of spring, ...

COVID-19 cases rising in Randolph

ELKINS — With COVID-19 cases rising throughout the area and across the state, officials from the Randolph-Elkins Health Department are urging residents to take strict precautions. Randolph County had 22 active cases as of Monday, up from just three active cases two weeks ago, on Sept. ...

Free testing offered today in Barbour

PHILIPPI — Barbour County will be offering free COVID-19 testing today from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Barbour County Fairgrounds. Public schools in Barbour County will operate remotely for all students through Thursday due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the county. The City of ...

Public heeding call to get tested for COVID, Justice says

CHARLESTON — Despite higher numbers of COVID-19, Gov. Jim Justice was encouraged by the increased number of West Virginians getting tested. “It seems like, and even feels like, this thing is starting to move our way,” Justice said Monday during his COVID-19 briefing at the State ...

Legal Action

COVID-19 already has killed some businesses in West Virginia. Forced to close when state restrictions designed to keep the disease from spreading were put in place, they simply could not stand months of paying fixed costs without earning any revenue. Even federal assistance, helping keep some ...

Council to vote on adopting temporary rules

ELKINS — Elkins City Council will gather for its first in-person City Hall meeting in months tonight and vote on adopting temporary rules that put requirements in place for attending in-person city meetings, and also state how following those requirements will be enforced. Council will ...

B-U Homecoming Parade moving out of city limits

HODGESVILLE — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Homecoming Parade is moving out of the city limits and may be concentrated in the area before and leading up to the high school on Route 20. Student council advisor Michael Wilson told Upshur County Board of Education members Tuesday night ...

Justice to look into adding school virus cases into dashboard

CHARLESTON — The state makes COVID-19 infection data available for deaths, hospitalizations, long-term care facilities, and correctional facilities, but some are wondering why neither the Department of Education or the Department of Health and Human Resources makes data publicly ...

United Way to offer virtual 5K race, fundraising event

ELKINS — The United Way of Randolph County is offering a unique fundraising event — a virtual 5K race. The agency’s first annual 5K Turkey Trot Run/Walk will take place from Friday, Nov. 20 through Saturday, Nov. 28. With everyone’s safety in mind, the race will be different ...