Coronavirus

In this year like no other, Election 2020 will be unlike other elections. The coronavirus pandemic makes some of the usual in-person voting a potential health hazard. Election officials have had to create new ways to safely and fairly conduct elections. And the hyper-partisan political atmosphere can make it harder to get accurate information about how to vote.

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

Marshall University officials said Friday they have put a professor on administrative leave while they investigate controversial statements made in a virtual classroom setting. 

 

In a news release, Marshall University administrators said they are aware of a video in which a faculty member made an “overtly political statement.”

Nicole Musgrave, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Over the past several months, people have turned to traditional skills and practices as one way of coping with the challenges created by the Coronavirus pandemic. Many have baked bread or started a garden, while others have returned to community traditions of raising and butchering animals at home.

In a special report as part of the Inside Appalachia Folkways Project, Nicole Musgrave spoke with several people in Floyd County, Kentucky who have used the pandemic as an opportunity to teach others how to process meat at home.


Mount Olive Correctional Center
Michael Keller / Goldenseal

West Virginia corrections officials say they’re now linking a prisoner death in July to COVID-19, referring to newer medical records that they received Tuesday.

School Alert System Map Revised September 15, 2020
WV Department of Education

West Virginia officials are once more changing a color-coded map of coronavirus cases that determines whether it’s safe for local school boards to offer in-person learning and extracurricular activities.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has called those advising him on the state’s coronavirus response to a Monday evening meeting. The governor is hoping to strike a balance between rising cases of the virus and allowing school openings and secondary school activities — even as the state continues to see a spike in the number of new cases.  

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

More West Virginia schools will be offering classes exclusively online after Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that he was tweaking the state’s protocols for operating schools during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That change comes as the state continues to lead the nation in the virus’ rate of spread.

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

West Virginia’s governor and health officials warned in a news conference Wednesday afternoon that the state’s reproductive and daily positive rates for COVID-19 were noticeably high.

In fact, West Virginia’s reproductive rate – 1.35 as of Wednesday, per the governor – has been the highest in the country for the last four days, according to coronavirus czar Clay Marsh.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Nearly six months into the ongoing pandemic, West Virginia continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases. The rise in cases comes as K-12 schools reopen. 

West Virginia currently has the  highest rate of spread of the virus in the entire nation with an R-t value of 1.28

In a Tuesday virtual news conference, Gov. Jim Justice said the state is dealing with outbreaks at 34 long term care facilities and five churches. State officials say at least 11 schools across the state are reporting cases of the virus. 

Nine drug companies pledged Tuesday that they will not submit vaccine candidates for FDA review until their safety and efficacy is shown in large clinical trials. The move is intended to bolster public confidence amid the rush to make a COVID-19 vaccine widely available, and counter fears of political pressure to have a vaccine before the November presidential election.

Woodburn Hall, WVU
Associated Press

Amid an uptick in cases in Monongalia County, West Virginia University has announced they are moving undergraduate classes online for the next few weeks. The decision by the state’s flagship university follows moves by other higher education institutions to move classes online as coronavirus cases sharply increase in the first weeks of a new semester nationwide.

West Virginia Department of Education

A second county in West Virginia is on track to have schools go virtual-instruction only and cancel extracurricular activities after an increase in coronavirus cases reported on Friday, a day before the state will announce which public schools are allowed to reopen next week. 

Woodburn Hall, WVU
Associated Press

West Virginia University reported its highest number of daily coronavirus cases among students for the second straight day.

The 48 confirmed student cases reported Thursday out of 408 tests given equates to a positive case rate of 11.8%. It marks the fourth straight time that the rate has exceeded 10%. By comparison, the statewide seven-day positive average was 2.94%.

The previous high of 38 positive student cases was reported Wednesday.

The Mount Olive Correctional Complex
West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Coronavirus outbreaks at West Virginia correctional facilities continue to grow, the governor announced on Wednesday.

Five additional inmates have tested positive at Mount Olive Correctional Complex since Monday, according to state data, bringing the total to 143 positives cases. Gov. Jim Justice said 18 staff members there were also confirmed to be infected.

The Trump administration is ordering a halt on evictions nationwide through December for people who have lost work during the pandemic and don't have other good housing options.

The new eviction ban is being enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, which the agency says in its order "presents a historic threat to public health."

With the start of a new month, some workers may get a boost in their take-home pay. The Trump administration has given employers the option to stop collecting payroll taxes for most workers through the end of this year.

President Trump announced the move three weeks ago, after failing to reach a deal with Congress on a more comprehensive pandemic relief package.

"This will mean bigger paychecks for working families as we race to produce a vaccine," Trump said.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice says some West Virginians on unemployment will be able to receive an extra $400 weekly benefit.

Because of a congressional stalemate over another coronavirus relief package, an additional benefit of $600 expired on Aug. 1. The following week, President Donald Trump took executive action and called for states to cover $100 of an additional $400 to those on unemployment.

As the fall semester gets underway, college students are reuniting with their friends, getting (re)acquainted with campus and doing what college students often do: partying. But in the time of the coronavirus, as more parties surface university administrators have been quick to condemn — and even berate — the behavior of students.

"Be better. Be adults. Think of someone other than yourself," pleaded a letter to students at Syracuse University following a large gathering on campus.

Despite a foothold in medicine that predates Hippocrates himself, the traditional physical exam might be on the verge of extinction. The coronavirus crisis has driven more routine medical appointments online, accelerating a trend toward telemedicine that has already been underway.

heliopix / Adobe stock

Seventeen West Virginia University students have been placed on probation for conduct violations related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

The toll on West Virginia's older population during the coronavirus pandemic kept mounting with the reported deaths Thursday of nine senior citizens from six different counties.

Aldarinho / Adobe Stock

The costs of treating COVID-19 patients are mounting, and they present a significant burden on the healthcare system in West Virginia, a state already hit by lost revenue from reduced visits to the emergency department and the canceling of non-emergency surgeries.

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a deep dive into how COVID-19 is affecting health and health care in the Mountain State.

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

Kanawha County is the latest to advance in the state’s color-coded map for community coronavirus spread in counties.

It moved into the orange zone from 9.7 average daily cases per 100,000 people on a rolling 7-day average Sunday, to nearly 12 on Tuesday.

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from artists working hard every day to bring us beauty and perspective here in Appalachia.


On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear from award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon, about her passion for shining a light on the resilience and strength of Appalachians. 


MICHAEL KELLER / GOLDENSEAL

West Virginia prison officials have identified three prisoner COVID-19 cases at the Mount Olive Correctional Center in Fayette County as of Monday.

The Latest On The Race For A Coronavirus Vaccine

Aug 24, 2020

Across the globe, the development of a coronavirus vaccine is in the works. In the U.S., public health experts are contending with the fact that at least at first, there won’t be enough for everyone in need. Officials at Johns Hopkins University released a suggested framework for distribution of the vaccine that prioritizes frontline health care workers.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice has once again revised a set of metrics that will guide school reopenings and, now, some operations at nursing homes. That change comes as West Virginia hits high marks in the number of coronavirus hospitalizations. 

Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

Six West Virginia University students have been identified as part of an investigation into off-campus parties that were held in violation of school health and safety policies during the coronavirus pandemic.

The students face discipline hearings before the Office of Student Conduct, the university said in a news release. The hearings could lead to sanctions that include probation, suspension or expulsion.

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