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Local public health departments and hospitals are on the front lines of facing the coronavirus throughout the Ohio Valley, yet the health professionals who run these facilities say years of underfunding and hospital closures have diminished these services that now face the crisis.

Fairmont Regional Medical Center via Facebook

West Virginia University Medicine will build a new hospital to replace a closing medical center in Fairmont, Gov. Jim Justice and university officials said Friday.

Wikimedia Commons

One of West Virginia’s largest public water utilities announced Friday it is making adjustments because of the potential spread of coronavirus.


BARB SARGENT / COURTESY WV DNR

There is a lot happening in the world that is stressful. But the risk of the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily have to mean you have to barricade yourself indoors. Diseases spread in close quarters, so some researchers advise that you should get outside and exercise with your friends if you can. Go on a walk. You can still avoid sneezing into each other's faces and make sure you wash your hands, but your immune system loves to be outside.


West Virginia Department of Natural Resources

The West Virginia elk reintroduction program is four years in, and the project is not growing as fast as expected; however, there is a herd in the Southern Coalfields that is slowly getting bigger. 


West Virginia University

Check back here for the latest coverage on the coronavirus.

West Virginia officials continue to try to stave off the effects of an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the state — despite no confirmed cases being announced by health officers. As the potential for a diagnosis appears inevitable, those involved in the response to the pandemic are hoping to mitigate its spread and prevent stresses on the state’s health care system. 

Is our health care system equipped to handle what lies ahead? How can West Virginia prevent stresses that have occured in other countries? 

Storyteller Uses Song To Inspire Children To Learn About Nature

Mar 13, 2020
Credit Saro Lynch-Thomason

These days, kids are spending less time exploring the outdoors and more time in front of screens.

A 2019 report by the independent non-profit Common Sense Media found that on average, 8-to-12 year-olds in the United States spend approximately five hours on entertainment screen media every day. But numerous studies show that time outside is great for kids, helping them reduce stress and stay healthy. 


Elementary Classroom
Douglaspperkins / Wikimedia Commons

Updated March 15, 2020 at 9:00 p.m.

 

Although no cases of the novel coronavirus have been found in West Virginia yet, Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday, March 13, all West Virginia schools are to close on Monday as a precaution. 

 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting has selected 13 storytellers to be a part of the second year of its Inside Appalachia Folkways Reporting Project.

The project expands the reporting of the Inside Appalachia team to include more stories from West Virginia, as well as expanding coverage in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Ohio. Storytellers will explore Appalachia’s rich folklife, arts and material culture.

WV Governor's Office

Only a handful of states have no reported coronavirus cases to date, one of which is West Virginia. Gov. Jim Justice held a press conference Thursday to talk about the state’s plan to prepare. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has an aging population, and concerns over the novel coronavirus are gathering momentum as surrounding states identify more and more cases. On this West Virginia Morning, we hear how the state is preparing.

Brian Blauser/ Mountain Stage

Hear Glen Phillips makes his eighth appearance on Mountain Stage this weekend and enjoy this preview with his performance of "Held Up."

Due to public health concerns regarding COVID-19, our live Mountain Stage shows scheduled for March will be canceled. We will work to reschedule the artists as soon as we can.

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

The NCAA has announced that it is canceling its Division I men's and women's college basketball tournaments. This year, there will be no March Madness.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement Thursday.

Eric Douglas / WVPB

W.I. “Bill” Hairston is a professional storyteller. He spins tales about a number of different topics  —  some made up and some real. 

During a recent talk at the West Virginia State University Economic Development Center on Charleston’s West Side he devoted his entire presentation to the topic “Growing Up Black in Appalachia.”

Hairston was originally born in Phenix City, Alabama in 1949. He describes the area of the town where he lived as being predominantly black. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

All over the country and in the mountain state, more and more people are learning what it means to cope with homelessness. That story and more on this West Virginia Morning.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Check back here for the latest coverage on the coronavirus.

Members of Gov. Jim Justice’s administration held a news conference Wednesday to give an update on West Virginia’s response to the novel coronavirus. Justice did not accompany those officials during the news conference.

Concord University's Marsh Hall Bell Tower.
Christopher Ziemnowicz / CZmarlin / wikimedia Commons

Concord University has announced it will extend its current spring break by a week, until March 20, to curtail the potential spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, coming on the tail end of Marshall University's and West Virginia University's similar announcements. 


e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia Division of Tourism / David Fattaleh

Marshall University has announced it is suspending classes next week in response to the potential spread of coronavirus.

In a news release issued Wednesday, president Jerome Gilbert announced Marshall University will suspend in-person classes during the week of March 16 through 20. Online courses will continue as scheduled.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The COVID-19 viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now officially a pandemic, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday.

"This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.

It's the first time the WHO has called an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 "swine flu" in 2009.

Without A Home Can You Be A Good Neighbor?

Mar 11, 2020
Kyle Vass

Homelessness is one of the things that divides us in America. It’s an Us & Them issue that can spring from, and inform our views on other social topics.

The number of homeless people nationally has dropped in the past decade, but there was an increase between 2017 and 2018. A West Virginia man saw a need and is trying to help.

courtesy of West Virginia Center for Children's Justice

The West Virginia Legislature recently passed a major foster care bill, which provides more resources for foster care parents among other provisions.

This bill is part of ongoing reforms to the state’s overwhelmed child welfare system, as officials work to manage the futures of nearly 7,000 children in state custody. Last year the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced it had selected Aetna Better Health to help manage health services for foster children. 


The spread of coronavirus has compelled hundreds of K-12 schools in the U.S. to close, affecting more than 850,000 students, according to an analysis by Education Week. And those numbers are certain to increase in the coming days, as concerned parents call for more school closures.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, coal miners with black lung disease met recently to discuss the 2020 legislative session, and we hear from Aetna Better Health, which was selected last year by the state Department of Health and Human Resources to help manage health services for foster children.

Woodburn Hall on the Campus of West Virginia University
Jesse Wright / WVPB

Updated on Mar. 12, 2020 at 4:33 p.m.

College administrators around the region are weighing their options as the coronavirus makes the lectures, events and dormitories of campus life potential means of transmission of the highly infectious virus. A few schools in the region have opted to suspend in-person classes in favor of remote participation, and as of Tuesday one Kentucky college had cancelled the rest of its spring semester as a precaution. 

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

This is a developing story and may be updated.

West Virginia University has announced it will soon suspend in-person classes due to the threat of coronavirus.

In an announcement issued late Tuesday, WVU officials say they are suspending classes during the week of March 23rd through the 27th. Beginning March 30th, class instruction will be delivered online. 

Office of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

A contest deadline is approaching for West Virginia schoolchildren to raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse.

The Kids Kick Opioids contest is open to elementary and middle school students. It can include poems, drawings, letters or anything that promotes awareness of painkiller abuse.  

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The 2020 West Virginia legislative session has ended with no new legislation addressing black lung benefits, leaving former and current coal miners to depend on waning federal benefits to combat the lifelong disease.  


Barb Sargent / Courtesy WV DNR

U.S. Forest Service district biologist Shane Jones stands on an overlook high up on West Virginia’s Cheat Mountain. Behind him lush, red spruce trees stand like sentinels on this frozen landscape. As he looks out, small patches of green dot what is largely a view of the barren, brown trunks of leafless hardwoods.

Adobe Stock

Mon Health has announced they hope to build a small format hospital in the Fairmont Region. The much smaller facility would replace Fairmont Regional, which announced it was closing late last month. 

According to a Tuesday press release, Mon Health will seek a certificate of need to build a small format hospital in the Fairmont Region. A certificate of need is required by many states, including West Virginia to build new health care facilities. 

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