News

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

West Virginia health officials have reported the state’s first death resulting from the coronavirus.

In a Sunday news release just before 7 p.m., the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says an 88-year-old female from Marion County has died as a result of COVID-19.

Carolyn Vigil via Facebook

A West Virginia couple are celebrating their recovery from the new coronavirus.

James Vigil learned from health officials on Friday that he would be cleared of the virus on Saturday, while Carolyn Vigil, who became sick after her husband, was told she could expect a similar bill of health on Monday, The Journal reported.

Inside Shuttered West Virginia Hospital Is 'Pot Of Gold'

Mar 28, 2020
John Raby / AP Photo

West Virginia emergency officials found more than a dozen ventilators and other important equipment in the shuttered Ohio Valley Medical Center this week as they prepare for possible shortages amid the coronavirus pandemic.

West Virginia Mask Army

Across the country, medical professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic are struggling to get their hands on protective gear – things as basic as goggles, gloves and masks – and without federal assistance, groups of West Virginians are handmaking face masks at their own expense.


Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Thursday filed a lawsuit against coal operator ERP Environmental Fund, Inc. alleging the company has racked up hundreds of violations, laid off employees, and walked away from its mining operations, leaving environmental obligations unfulfilled. 

According to documents filed with the Kanawha Circuit Court on March 26, ERP holds more than 100 permits at numerous mine sites across West Virginia. With the exception of one permit, all were acquired in 2015 from Patriot Coal Corporation during the company’s second bankruptcy. 

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Following a misreported death, falsely attributed to the coronavirus, West Virginia health officials on Friday said they are considering new protocols to prevent the spread of inaccurate information.

Gov. Jim Justice and other state officials spoke to the public through a virtual news conference, a practice that has become commonplace as an effort to combat the continued spread of the virus.

Caitlin Tan / WVPB

Usually this time of year marks the start of festival season. So many little communities throughout the region celebrate springtime in their own way. But things are basically on pause right now as the country holds its collective breath. 

On this week’s episode of “Inside Appalachia,” we check in with our friends and neighbors across the region, many of whom are hunkering down at home, trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Hannah Hedrick / Grow Ohio Valley

In this time of crisis West Virginia Public Broadcasting is reaching out to community leaders working on the frontlines to help their towns and regions.

Danny Swan is executive director of the nonprofit Grow Ohio Valley — an organization based in the Northern Panhandle committed to promoting regional food security.

He shared these thoughts on regional food security and ways Grow Ohio Valley is trying to improve individual and community health throughout the upper Ohio Valley and throughout the state.

Base Camp Printing Company

“Why don’t you go out and hear some live music, wherever you are, just as soon as you can.”

The words of Larry’s slogan might translate a little differently when you hear them this weekend on NPR stations across the country. He says it after the credits at the end of every episode.

Courtesy Illustration

“The Bitter Southerner Podcast” is an offshoot of an online magazine called The Bitter Southerner.  The podcast, which just completed its second season, is devoted to the culture of the South and produced with the support of Georgia Public Broadcasting. 

Host and editor Chuck Reece doesn’t shy away from topics that can be awkward to discuss. Reece himself grew up in north Georgia, in the foothills of the Appalachians, and has an affinity for the region. He has dedicated shows to controversial topics like the federally-owned power utility the Tennessee Valley Authority and the book “Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy.”


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, food pantries across the state cope as the coronavirus turns life upside down – we’ll explore regional food security in the Mountain State. We also bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

Adobe Stock

 

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Child Support Enforcement is asking clients to seek help through the office online and not visit the agency’s local offices in-person during the coronavirus pandemic.

West Virginia Department of Commerce Cabinet Secretary Ed Gaunch speaks with reporters in a virual press conference on March 26, 2020.
WV Governor's Office

West Virginians applying for unemployment benefits online could experience intermittent outages because the number of businesses closing or scaling back operations due to the coronavirus outbreak has sent claims surging, the state's commerce chief said Thursday.

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For the past two years, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia team has been working on a folkways project that focuses on artisans and craftsmen within Appalachia.

For many of these people, their art or craft is their primary income, and a lot of them depend on social events, like concerts, farmers markets and craft fairs. In this new world of coronavirus and social distancing, that is proving difficult.

The United Mine Workers of America is asking federal regulators to set uniform, enforceable guidelines to help protect coal miners from contracting COVID-19. 

Voters enter the polling place at Morgantown High School on Nov. 6, 2018, in the South Park neighborhood of Morgantown, W.Va.
Jesse Wright / WVPB

All registered voters will receive an absentee ballot application for the May 12 primary, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’ office on Thursday. 

Sgt. Amouris Cos / U.S. Army National Guard

West Virginia was the final state to confirm a case of COVID-19, but at that point, over a week ago, only 39 West Virginians had been tested. In a news conference at the time, Gov. Jim Justice said, “I mean, let’s be real. It has to be here. We just haven’t found it yet.” 

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

As the coronavirus pandemic forces indefinite business closures, lawmakers are deciding what they can do to keep the economy afloat. One proposal is to send Americans $1,000 checks. 

A March 18 Facebook post, shared more than 6,000 times, takes aim at Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and his views on the proposal.

Adobe Stock

As of Thursday morning, March 26, Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown has 28 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and is being called “ground zero” for the outbreak in West Virginia.

 

Health reporter Kara Lofton spoke with Dr. Lee Smith, executive director and county health officer for the Monongalia County Health Department, who has been helping coordinate the response to the outbreak.

Adobe Stock

 


The coronavirus pandemic continues to be the top public health concern in the nation.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported early Thursday morning 12 new cases, bringing the total positive case count in West Virginia to 51.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The West Virginia nursing home described as the epicenter of the state's coronavirus caseload now has 28 positive cases as containment measures continue, officials said Thursday.

Sundale nursing home medical director Carl Shrader said 20 residents and eight staffers at the Morgantown facility have the virus, with four tests pending after an aggressive effort to screen nearly everyone at the center.

Courtesy Michael Brumage

As new cases of coronavirus mount in the Ohio Valley, health officials are bracing for an onslaught of patients and what could be unprecedented demand for beds, medical staff and specialized equipment.

Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia have disproportionately high rates of people vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19. But the region’s capacity to treat them has been sharply reduced by the closure of some 21 hospitals over the past 15 years. An analysis by the Ohio Valley ReSource shows some of the communities where hospitals have closed have some of the nation’s poorest health outcomes, making them especially vulnerable.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll visit the upper Kanawha Valley where people know the inside of economic hardship, and we’ll learn more about how officials are trying to contain the coronavirus at a nursing home in Morgantown where 20 cases have been reported.

The Ohio Valley ReSource and its seven partner stations in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have mobilized to cover the coronavirus pandemic health threat and the profound effects it is having on how we live in the region.

This is an anxious, bewildering time, and we know you have a lot of questions. We want to help answer them.

Ask your question below and the ReSource journalists will try their very best to find an answer.

 

 

Trey Kay

Appalachia is a unique region of the country. Its namesake mountain range boasts a tangle of thick forests where the economy has relied on forestry, manufacturing and mining for jobs. The Kanawha River winds through West Virginia upstream from Charleston and was once a hotbed of mining operations and chemical plants.

 

Brian Blauser/ Mountain Stage

One of the most awarded groups in bluegrass history sings one of the Mountain State’s most beloved anthems.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

As restrictions on daily activities tighten and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise, across West Virginia many community-based food pantries report more people are using their services. 

While federal food resources are being expanded during the pandemic, some organizations operating on the ground say they are grappling with how COVID-19 is changing day-to-day operations.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

At his daily press briefing today, Wednesday, March 25, Gov. Jim Justice announced West Virginia Schools would remain closed until at least April 20. 

The governor also responded to the recent jump in confirmed coronavirus cases, which rose from 20 to 39, as of Tuesday evening. State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp reported that most of those victims were outpatients who did not require hospitalization. 

A screenshot from the video game Fallout 76.
Bethesda Game Studios

 

A study done last year that found the video game Fallout 76 may help forge new emotional connections between those playing it and West Virginia, will be published in a new journal under the American Psychological Association

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