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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

Hotspots

Setting up more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout West Virginia will not be easy, particularly because the project needs to be completed within a month. State officials and technicians will need all the help they can get. They should turn to the 55 county school systems for aid and, just ...

Pandemic worsening child hunger issue

As the coronavirus rages on across our state, it has caused yet another crisis — child hunger. Thousands of families with kids right here in West Virginia are now dealing with unemployment, rising food prices, eviction and hunger. And yet Congress continues to fail these children by leaving ...

Justice pushes back on union claims

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice and Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said Friday that claims they have not been in communication with unions representing teachers and school service personnel were unfounded. “It disappoints me tremendously…we turn back to this same old nasty ...

Complicated

Managing all public schools in West Virginia as if the COVID-19 epidemic was affecting them the same way makes no sense at all. Gov. Jim Justice was right to announce Wednesday that state officials will make school decisions on a county-by-county basis. Now, to address that devil that is the ...

Upshur Circuit Court moving jury selections

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission signed an order Thursday to move jury selection for the Upshur County Circuit Court to the Event Center at Brushy Fork for the remainder of the year. West Virginia Code 51-3-7 gives county commissions the authority to appoint locations to hold ...

Teachers unions weighing in on Justice’s plans

CHARLESTON — A union representing part of West Virginia’s teachers criticized Gov. Jim Justice for building hype for an announcement on school re-openings, only to release a vague color-coded plan, while the union representing school service personnel said it was not consulted on ...

Manchin optimistic on aid package

CHARLESTON — As White House officials and Democratic leaders in Congress struggle to come up with a deal on a fourth phase of COVID-19 funding for medical and economic needs, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is hopeful a bill could be voted on next week. Manchin held a video conference ...

Capito, Brown introduce COVID-19 legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Tuesday introduced the COVID-19 Hospice Respite Care Relief Act of 2020, bipartisan legislation that would expand Medicare’s hospice respite care benefit during a public health crisis. ...

Pandemic pushing rise of food trucks

ELKINS — The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many sections of our lives, including our dining habits. Many of us have rediscovered the joy of home cooking, but when you want to take a night off from slaving over a hot stove, in-restaurant dining or ordering take out and hitting the ...

Students return to new reality

As Davis & Elkins College soon welcomes students back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester, be assured that we are doing everything in our power to protect the entire D&E community. This institution has worked tirelessly since March to prepare for the return of students, faculty, and ...

Spreading

If you are a West Virginian in the 60-plus age group, your best strategy for avoiding COVID-19 may be simple: Stay away from younger people. Too many of them are refusing to take defensive measures against the virus. As a result, more and more in the under-60 crowd are contracting the ...

Circuit court jury selections to be at Phil Gainer Center

ELKINS — County officials have approved the temporary relocation of Randolph County Circuit Court to the Phil Gainer Community Center for jury selections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Randolph County Commission voted unanimously to approve the measure at their most recent ...

Justice unveils reopening plan for public schools

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday that West Virginia has all the tools needed to safely reopen schools by the Sept. 8 start date. “There’s no chance in all the world, to the best of my abilities, will I absolutely put a kid, a teacher, a service personnel person, or anyone ...

W.Va. asked to help pay for National Guard pandemic deployment

CHARLESTON — West Virginia could be one of 48 states and territories that will have to shell out money for the deployment of its National Guard, even as the state relies heavily on guard members for pandemic response. Gov. Jim Justice said he was participating in a phone call Wednesday ...

WVWC opening online only for at least two weeks

BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College will reopen online only for at least two weeks, officials said Tuesday. WVWC will open on-line on Monday, Aug. 17, with the possibility of bringing students back to campus for in-person instruction as early as Monday, Sept. 7, President Joel ...

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 ...