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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

1,000 doses to be administered in Elkins this week

ELKINS — The Randolph County Health Department confirmed Monday that more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered in Elkins this week. Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, told the Inter-Mountain Monday that both first and ...

Two Upshur school staffers test positive

BUCKHANNON — Officials confirmed Monday that two staff members at an Upshur County public school have tested positive for COVID-19. “Upshur County Schools received confirmation from the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department that two staff members at Union Elementary School have tested ...

Vaccination efforts pay dividends, officials say

CHARLESTON — Officials said Monday that West Virginia’s aggressive COVID-19 vaccination efforts are helping decrease the number of hospitalizations and deaths in the state. “We are absolutely the envy of the nation and the diamond in the rough that everyone missed,” Gov. Jim ...

Justice calls for more COVID stimulus as Jan. tax revenues soar

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice, parting ways from West Virginia’s Republican U.S. senator, called for a big federal COVID relief bill even as state tax revenues return to surpluses in January. Speaking Monday during his coronavirus briefing at the State Capitol Building, Justice said ...

Justice addresses rumors about educator vaccine status

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice said Friday that any rumor that teachers and school service personnel are not top priority for COVID-19 vaccines was wrong, encouraging educators to pre-register in the state’s vaccine scheduling system. “I want every teacher and every school service ...

Upshur BOE facing lack of substitutes

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Schools is facing a problem that is becoming an issue both state-wide and nation-wide — a lack of available substitutes. In the fall, a lack of substitute teachers prompted Buckhannon-Upshur Middle and Buckhannon-Upshur High School to close to in-person ...

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 ...