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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

Justice sets COVID-19 vaccine goal to remove mask mandates

CHARLESTON — To help encourage reluctant West Virginians to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, Gov. Jim Justice set a vaccine goal Wednesday for the state, with elimination of indoor mask mandates as the prize. “We’ve still got a ways to go,” Justice said during his Wednesday ...

Vaccination clinics to come to end

ELKINS — Local health officials announced Monday the COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics that have been held weekly at the Phil Gainer Community Center would be coming to an end as the number of confirmed cases in Randolph County has increased from 11 last week to 15 currently. The regional ...

Justice cleans up executive orders

CHARLESTON — After 12 months of dozens of executive orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday he would issue a new executive order canceling outdated executive orders and providing clarity as the pandemic continues. “It can be confusing for the public ...

Demand slowing for vaccinations

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials pleaded with the public Friday to get a COVID-19 vaccine as supply of the vaccines becomes greater than the demand. “There has never been a vaccine that is this productive and this successful. Never,” Justice said. “You would ...

State vaccinations nearing 500K

CHARLESTON — A total of 675,344 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 480,324 people in the state have been fully vaccinated, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Thursday. Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 in the Mountain ...

Pause of one-shot vaccine not affecting W.Va.

CHARLESTON — Health officials in West Virginia stressed Wednesday the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts are largely unaffected by the pause in the use of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Dr. Clay Marsh, the state coronavirus czar, said the number of Johnson and Johnson ...

W.Va. COVID numbers return to lows

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s COVID-19 numbers for March are a long way from the small number of cases, tests, and deaths when the pandemic first officially arrived in the state one year ago, but still lower than December and January’s peak. According to an analysis of data released by ...

More vaccines are coming to W.Va.

CHARLESTON — Another 20,000 doses of vaccine are coming to West Virginia next week, enabling a greater emphasis on vaccinations in the Eastern Panhandle, state officials said Wednesday. The number of doses will increase from around 52,000 to 72,000, Gov. Jim Justice said during his ...

Vaccine clinic to offer more opportunities

ELKINS — Officials said there will be opportunities for more local residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at Thursday’s Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Phil Gainer Community Center. Not only will more residents receive phone calls alerting them that they are scheduled to be vaccinated ...

COVID-19 case numbers going back up in West Virginia

CHARLESTON — West Virginia is seeing an increase in COVID-19 total and active cases as the state marks the grim milestone of the first coronavirus death in the state one year ago. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the number of positive cases over a ...

Positive COVID cases rise in local schools

ELKINS — Active COVID-19 cases in Randolph County schools have risen during the past week, officials said. On Friday, the state Department of Education released figures saying Randolph County Schools have eight current positive COVID-19 cases, including five in Tygarts Valley Middle/High ...

Rental assistance program accepting applications

CHARLESTON — The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program created to help renters and landlords financially hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic is accepting applications, Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday. The program is managed by the Housing Development Fund and provides financial assistance to ...

Clinic volunteers receive key to city

ELKINS — For months volunteers have dedicated their time and effort to making sure the weekly COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Clinics at the Phil Gainer Community Center run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. On Thursday, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton acknowledged all of their hard work and ...

W.Va. ditches color-coded school map

CHARLESTON — With nearly three months left in the school year, Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday the color-coded map used to determine whether to close schools for in-person learning is going away. “We’re going to stop using our color-code system for high schools in West ...

State COVID numbers on the rise again in state

ELKINS — With COVID-19 numbers back on the rise in West Virginia, local health officials are urging residents to take precautions and to get vaccinated if they are eligible to do so. West Virginia had a reported total of 5,214 active coronavirus cases on March 15. After several weeks of ...

Dem lawmakers speak out after Republican delegate COVID-19 infection

CHARLESTON — Democratic leaders of the West Virginia Legislature expressed their frustrations Monday after the revelation that a Republican committee chairman and member of the House of Delegates has COVID-19. Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, and House Minority ...

West Virginia opens up COVID-19 vaccines for all residents age 16 and older

CHARLESTON — As active cases begin to increase again in West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that all residents age 16 and older can now get in line for a COVID-19 vaccine, though focus remains on older residents. “Let’s go, West Virginia, and let’s get everybody in this ...

Elkins seeking input on relief funds

ELKINS — The City of Elkins will be seeking input from both the community and government officials on what to do with the estimated $2.91 million the city is expected to receive from the American Rescue Act. The $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, signed by President Joe Biden last week, is ...

Residents urged to stay alert for vaccination calls

ELKINS — After seeing the active coronavirus case numbers in Randolph County drop to 11 last week, several clusters within the community pushed that number back up to 22 as of Monday. “We had some clusters and we have some school kids in quarantine, but it does not seem to be being passed ...

Justice: More eligible to receive vaccine

CHARLESTON — As part of his regular COVID-19 briefing Monday, Gov. Jim Justice announced that more West Virginians with pre-existing medical conditions and all essential workers regardless of age will be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. Justice said all residents over the age of 16 ...