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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

Phone trouble plagues vaccination plans

ELKINS — Officials were working Tuesday to resolve issues with the phone lines being used to make appointments for Thursday’s mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Phil Gainer Community Center. All of the phone lines at Davis Medical Center, which is scheduling the vaccination ...

French Creek Freddie event canceled

FRENCH CREEK — Due to COVID-19 concerns, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that West Virginia’s Groundhog Day Celebration has been canceled. The annual event that draws visitors from throughout the Mountain State is held annually on Feb. 2 at the state ...

Restraining order against W.Va. school re-opening plans blocked

CHARLESTON — An attempt by West Virginia’s two teachers’ unions to block the current school re-entry plans for public schools was blocked by a judge Tuesday. Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster ruled Tuesday against a request for a temporary restraining order against the West ...

500 doses set for vaccination clinic

ELKINS — Local health care officials are releasing further information and instructions to the public as they prepare to administer 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. “The Elkins Randolph County Health Department is receiving 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week ...

New vaccination registration system going smoothly

CHARLESTON — Monday’s rollout of a new pre-registration system to notify West Virginians when vaccines are available is working, state officials said. “This morning we became the first state in the nation to launch a COVID vaccine pre-registration system,” said Gov. Jim Justice during ...

W.Va. COVID-19 cases continue decline

CHARLESTON — Total and active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia are on the decline for the second straight week, according to an analysis of data released Monday by the state Department of Health and Human Resources. The total numbers of positive COVID-19 cases over a 14-day period between ...

Justice backs state school board decision

CHARLESTON — As West Virginia’s two teachers’ union file lawsuits to block a state Board of Education mandate for in-person school, Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday he applauded board members for holding their ground. “I am really happy our schools have reopened for in-person learning. ...

Vaccination clinic set Thursday

ELKINS — Another mass vaccination clinic will be offered at the Phil Gainer Community Center Thursday, officials said. As was the case with this week’s event, Thursday’s clinic will be a regional event focusing on providing COVID-19 vaccinations to residents 65 years old and older from ...

Commission approves paid leave change

ELKINS — Randolph County Commissioners unanimously voted to approve paid leave for county employees affected by COVID-19 this week during their regular meeting at the James Cain Courthouse Annex. With the decision, the county will now provide paid sick leave for up to 80 days for any ...

Online vaccine appointment system to roll out

CHARLESTON — With county health departments being inundated with calls for COVID-19 vaccinations and growing waiting lists, West Virginia will have an online appointment and registration system to help get more people into the system. Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials announced ...

Annual Fasnacht celebration canceled

HELVETIA — A tradition that has been celebrated annually in the town of Helvetia for the past 150 years has suffered the same fate that many other festivals and gatherings across the country have during the past 12 months. Fasnacht, which has been referred to as the Mardi Gras of Randolph ...

Vaccination clinic set for Thursday

ELKINS — A mass vaccination clinic will be offered to those 65 and older at the Phil Gainer Community Center Thursday, officials reported. Randolph and five other area counties will receive just 65 doses each this week and they will be available by appointment only. The vaccinations will be ...

Officials concerned about delivery of COVID-19 vaccines slowing

CHARLESTON — West Virginia continues to lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, but state officials said Tuesday that the number of new vaccine doses from the federal government is slowing down. Gov. Jim Justice, speaking Tuesday during a coronavirus briefing at the Capitol, ...

Justice comments on first day of in-person school in W.Va.

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday the first day of in-person school was going smoothly. Tuesday marked the first day of in-person public and private school for Pre-K, elementary and middle schools, as well as high schools as long as their county was not red on the Department of ...

Courthouse set to reopen today

ELKINS — The Randolph County Courthouse will reopen today after closing for a week due to COVID-19 difficulties, an official said. “The courthouse will reopen to the public Tuesday morning for its regular hours of operation,” Randolph County Commission President Mark Scott told The ...

State COVID numbers are slightly down

CHARLESTON — It remains to be seen if the trend is a blip, but new COVID-19 cases, active cases and hospitalizations are showing signs of decreasing in West Virginia. According to an analysis of data released Monday by the Department of Health and Human Resources, the number of positive ...

Upshur BOE votes to resume blended model of instruction

TENNERTON — The Upshur County Board of Education voted 4-1 to resume the blended model of instruction beginning Jan. 19, but to re-examine this decision at the Feb. 23 board of education meeting. The vote came during a special meeting held Wednesday at Buckhannon-Upshur High School in ...

Randolph approves blended calendar

ELKINS — Following direction provided by the West Virginia State Board of Education, Randolph County Schools officials approved a blended calendar for students this week. Throughout the remainder of January and the entire month of February, students in Randolph County will follow a blended ...

Teachers union to file injunction on school reentry

PARKERSBURG — A statewide teachers union is planning to file an injunction regarding the return of students to in-person schooling next week. The American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia announced Thursday that it plans to file an injunctive action against the West Virginia Board of ...