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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

Teacher unions not happy with school plans

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s two unions representing educators are not happy with plans to bring staff and students back to school in-person and are skeptical about plans to have teachers vaccinated against COVID-19 in time. Gov. Jim Justice announced last week that Pre-K, elementary ...

82 inmates test positive at TVRJ

ELKINS — The Tygart Valley Regional Jail currently has the second-worst outbreak of COVID-19 cases within the West Virginia regional jail system. Statistics released Monday by the state show TVRJ with 82 active cases among the 507 inmates at the facility, with 34 recovered cases. A total of ...

Randolph hits record high of COVID cases

ELKINS — Local health officials are urging the public to continue to take extra precautions against the spread of COVID-19 even after they’ve received a vaccination for the coronavirus, as Randolph County has hit a high mark for active COVID-19 cases. Many may believe that once they ...

Elkins, Buckhannon face staffing issues

ELKINS — City employees’ exposure to COVID-19 is creating problems for both the City of Elkins and the City of Buckhannon. In Elkins, city garbage collection is being disrupted due to quarantined employees, officials said. “Garbage pickup in Elkins may be delayed or disrupted over the ...

W.Va. December COVID-19 cases, deaths see major increases

CHARLESTON — West Virginia ended 2020 with COVID-19 cases and deaths substantially increasing as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. According to numbers from the Department of Health and Human Resources, December saw 39,279 COVID-19 cases in the state for an increase over the ...

Justice dismisses Greenbrier Resort coronavirus concerns

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice dismissed a video making the rounds on social media showing party goers flouting social distancing and mask rules at a New Year’s Eve event held at the Justice-owned Greenbrier Resort, calling it a political attack. Justice was asked about the video Monday by ...

Seniors wait for turn in COVID-19 vaccination line-up

CHARLESTON — Seniors waiting their turn for a COVID-19 vaccine said they were pleased to learn that West Virginia is following federal guidelines on getting the vaccine to seniors most at risk for infection. David Barger and Connie Miller, residents of Teays Valley in Putnam County, ...

Vaccine to be offered to those over 80

ELKINS — The Randolph-Elkins Health Department released the following announcement Wednesday evening: “COVID-19 vaccine available for Randolph County citizens of 80 years or older: “Vaccine against COVID-19 will be available to citizens 80 years or older on Wednesday January 6 and ...

West Virginia elderly residents moved up in vaccine priority

CHARLESTON — West Virginians in the older, at-risk population for COVID-19 infection now will be able to get vaccinated starting with residents age 80 and older. Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that vaccinations for people in the general population ages 80 and older would be available ...

ERCC announces COVID-19 outbreak

ELKINS — Elkins Rehabilitation & Care Center announced Wednesday a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, which received the first doses for COVID-19 vaccinations less than two weeks ago. “Late last night we were notified that five residents and 12 staff members have tested positive for ...

W.Va. releases back-to-school plan

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday a plan to get West Virginia’s pre-K and K-12 students back into schools even as the state’s school re-entry map is mostly red and orange due to COVID-19 infections. During his Wednesday coronavirus briefing — his last of 2020 — ...

Justice attorneys lay out case for mask suit dismissal

CHARLESTON — Attorneys for Gov. Jim Justice gave multiple reasons for a federal judge to grant their motion to dismiss a case challenging the governor’s indoor face mask mandate and COVID-19 regulations for businesses. Ben Bailey of Bailey and Glasser filed a reply Monday in the U.S. ...

Pandemic doesn’t stop Elks Lodge from making donations

ELKINS — The Elkins Elks Lodge 1135 refused to allow COVID-19 to keep the organization from successfully making its annual holiday donations to the local community. Each year during Christmas the Elks Club hosts two separate events for area youths. The lodge traditionally presents an ...

Randolph sees second vaccine shipment

ELKINS — The second shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was delivered to Randolph County officials late Monday afternoon and will be administered to more local front line workers, officials said. The delivery was the second to the county and was a week behind schedule due to conflicts ...

State racing to vaccinate senior citizens

CHARLESTON — While there are no plans to move older members of West Virginia’s general population up in the order of COVID-19 vaccinations, state officials said Monday that they are moving quickly to get to those seniors. Gov. Jim Justice and state coronavirus response officials briefed ...

Justice praises relief bill signing

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice praised Monday the signing of a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that also extends the use of previous federal dollars for COVID-19 expenses. “Thank goodness we passed something,” Justice said. “We have too many people and too many businesses that ...

2 local COVID-related deaths reported

ELKINS — A Randolph County woman and a Barbour County man were among COVID-19-related deaths reported by state officials during the Christmas holiday. The deaths of an 86-year-old woman from Randolph and a 70-year-old Barbour man were confirmed by the state Department of Health & Human ...

COVID-19 outbreak at Pleasants jail

ST. MARYS — There are nearly 300 active cases of COVID-19 at St. Marys Correctional Center and Jail. The number of active cases in Pleasants County more than doubled from 146 Thursday morning to 307 as of Friday’s update from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, ...

COVID vaccination numbers up

CHARLESTON — West Virginia continues to get COVID-19 vaccines out the door as part of its distribution plan, while the state is seeing more cases and deaths but fewer tests with Christmas around the corner. Gov. Jim Justice, speaking Wednesday during his final COVID-19 briefing before the ...