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Third COVID-19 death reported in West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A third West Virginia has died in connection with Covid-19.

Various reports indicate a Sundale Nursing Home resident died Friday at a Morgantown hospital. He was 76.

A social media post from a family member said he fought to the end, and had also suffered heart complications for many years.

The man was one of 21 residents of the Sundale that contracted the virus weeks ago. Two remain hospitalized while 17 are being treated in a dedicated wing at Sundale. Eight Sundale staff members who tested positive are recovering in quarantine at home.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

PSC approves Longview expansion plans

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has approved a Joint Application for a Siting Certificate and a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to authorize the construction and operation of two electric wholesale generating facilities and one high-voltage electric transmission line in Monongalia County, subject to certain conditions.

Longview Power II, LLC was granted the certificate to buld the 1,200 MW natural gas-fired electric combined cycle gas turbine facility and a 5,500 foot 500 kV related transmission line. The Commission also approved the construction and operation of 20 MW of a 70 MW direct current solar facility in West Virginia. The remainder of the solar facility located will be located in Pennsylvania.

The project will increase the total power generation at the site 2,000 MW of capacity.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Mon County Schools continue to feed students, looking for volunteers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The partnership to feed students in Mon County is picking up new team members and delivering more than just meals.

Mon County School Board president Ron Lytle says when the program started meal counts increased steadily, last week he says they delivered 1,500 meals and this week the numbers doubled.

“Three-thousand meals, we had some leftover, but those were distributed to students in need,”Lytle said,”So, it was a god day, it was a good chance to fill a need.”

Bartini Prime co-owner Justin Byers has worked along side the schools to help prepare and deliver the food.

“Outreach coordinators got to know these students over the years,”Lytle said,”They know the needs, they know where these kids live and they who needs help at this point.”

Lytle says families register for the Thursday delivery online, then Bartini Prime, school officials and volunteers prepare and deliver them to 15 bus stops in the county.

Lytle says as the need has grown, so has the search for sources.

“Commissioner Kent Leonhardt called me and said we’ve got a lot of food down here,”Lytle said,”That food is generally shipped to schools but everything is shutdown, so everything is sitting there in freezers and freezer trucks at this point. It’s overloaded at this point because it’s not being taken.”

Now, along with a grant from the Mon County commission, volunteer effort from the United Way of Mon and Preston Counties and Pantry Plus More a portion of that food will be boxed and given directly to families.

The meal preparation site has been moved from The Summit Tennis Academy to Mylan Park for the safety of volunteers. Lytle says if there is a group of people that can volunteer to help he can provide a safe work space.

“We can set up an assembly line so they don’t come in contact with anyone else and protect them with gloves or anything they need to help out without being potentially infected.”

Lytle says as the shutdown lingers people are becoming the most important asset.

“The biggest thing we need so we don’t get burned out is more people just to make sure this stays at a six to eight hour operation,”Lytle said,”Instead of a group of 30 to 40 people that are getting bogged down, especially with the new food boxes.”

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

WVU Medicine adapts to COVID-19 work conditions, readies for potential surge

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Healthcare workers are learning a new reality as COVID-19 sweeps across West Virginia.

On Talkline, WVU Medicine Dr. Albert Wright says they are several across their system.

“WVU Medicine has about 30 COVID-19 patients in-house today around the state,”Wright said,”About half of those folks are on ventilators.”

Wright says in the larger hospitals dedicated units can be established, but in smaller buildings the COVID-19 positive patients are placed in isolation.

“Obviously there’s a very high level of personal protective equipment when our employees are working with a known or suspected COVID-19 patient,”Wright said,”We’re going to make sure we keep those employees extra safe and have everything they need with gowns, gloves and masks.”

Wright says because the virus can be carried with no symptoms, they’ve had people develop the disease while at the hospital. Because of that, a new classification of employee has been created.

“We now have what we call Category II employees that are taking care of low-risk patients,”Wright said,”We’re having them wear masks try to protect them, because we have to be able to keep our workforce especially if we have that surge we fear.”

If the surge does strike, Wright says he’s confident the hospital system can handle it.

“I’m at Ruby Memorial today, and we have a little less than 400 patients in-house and normally we would have 650 to 675 in-house,”Wright said,”We’ve still got significant ICU capacity, bed capacity and ventilator capacity.”

Wright says latest model predicting the COVID-19 surge shows May 4 as the date that hospitals resources will be tested. He says residents have followed CDC guidelines, and he like others say that hopefully will flatten the curve.

Wright added that elective procedures that are not being done will have to be addressed in the future. People will have to have hips and replaced or other orthopedic procedures done.

“We starting to work on a recovery plan, because at some point we can’t defer these procedures forever and we have to able to start to operate on folks after this potential surge,”Wright said,”The coronavirus is not going to go away, it’s going to be here for six to nine months.”

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Public building closure in Morgantown extended

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Officials in Morgantown have extended the closure of public buildings to April 30, 2020. Residents with questions or needs are asked to go to the city website or call 304-284-7405.

The city of Morgantown is now accepting payments online for Planning and Zoning Applications, bid packet fees, Code Enforcement permit fees and letters of compliance, police test application fees, fire fees, and Fire Department Permits and fees.

Residents submitting applications, forms, and other documents such as building permits, will be required to contact the department they wish to coordinate with for instructions on completing and submitting documents.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

MPD warns of COVID-19 related fraud attempts

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Police Department is warning citizens to watch for COVID-19 fraud attempts.

The FBI has reported an increase of online fraud schemes related to COVID-19. These fraudulent messages typically fall under one of these
categories:

  1. Fake CDC emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus
  2. Phishing emails asking you to verify personal information in order to receive an
    economic stimulus check from the government, or other entities like fake cures and
    vaccines or testing kits
  3. Messages claiming to treatment or equipment such as a COVID-19 vaccination,
    gloves, respirators, or face masks.

Morgantown Police Department officials recommend following these tips to protect yourself
from all forms of email scams:

  1. Do not click on links within an email unless you are certain of the sender’s identity;
  2. Do not open attachments within an email unless you are certain of the sender’s identity;
  3. Do not provide personal information such as your social security number, date of birth, or
    financial data in an email or over a phone call; and
  4. Always verify the web address by manually typing them into your browser.
    If you believe you are a victim of an internet scam or cybercrime or you would like to report
    suspicious activity, please visit the FCC website, or contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint
    Center
    .
Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

UPDATED: Primary election date, deadlines change with executive order

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice has moved the primary election from May 12 to June 9 by executive order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mon County Clerk Carye Blaney says absentee ballot applications will be mailed to voters by the second week of April.

“I think there is some confusion among the voters because they hear so many different things,”Blaney said,”They are expecting just to receive a ballot in the mail and that is not what is occurring”

Blaney says there was intense interest in absentee voting even before the delay was announced, now they expect even more.

“We have already received applications for 550 ballots,”Blaney said,’And we expect that to increase in numbers.”

Blaney says will make sure every voter in the county has the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot or in person.

“The reason why there is an application process is because before we ever mail a ballot to a voter, our office has verified they are duly qualified voter and entitled to receive that ballot,”Blaney said,”This is not a vote by mail process.”

Blaney says this election has tested her staff like no other.

“We have never had such an enormous amount of absentee ballots, but we will handle them in the same fashion that we have handled all of our other absentee ballots. That process isn’t changing,”Blaney said,”The only thing is, it may delay us on election night.”

Balney says as in years past early voting and absentee ballot totals will be released prior to the time the polls close on election day.

Because of the order the following deadlines are changing:

  1. May 20 Last day to register or update your voter registration
  2. The early voting period will be from May 27 to June 6
  3. The last day to request an absentee ballot is June 3
  4. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by midnight June 9
Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Mountaineer Convention and Visitors Bureau adapts during COVID-19

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Local tourism is working to adapt to an unexpected national health crisis.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak that has impacted business across West Virginia, the Morgantown Conventions and Visitors Bureau created an outlet through their website which allows for local business that are still open to let residents know.

“A Mountaineer Country Community Resource, a guide during the coronavirus,” explains Morgantown CVB President & CEO Susan Riddle.

Despite several limitations and closures, Riddle stated that there are several local businesses that are reaching out to local residents. Rather they be a restaurant out in Star City or a business in Downtown Morgantown that might be affected by the stay-at-home order implemented by Governor Jim Justice as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone is having a chance to spread their word.

“And it’s everything on local information, supporting your community, to-go dining, different services, actually shopping that is still available,” said Riddle on WAJR’s talk of the Town. “As far as different, whether it be major chains, grocery stores, those kinds of things,” she said.

Not only are business reaching out to residents to encourage economic activity, but also to reach out in charity. While the Morgantown CVB continues to encourage residents to buy from local restaurants and stores, charitable works across the North-Central region are also being promoted. This includes efforts made by various local boards of education and other business who have volutneered time and resources.

“Some of the stuff that’s been out there that people have been stepping up and providing, whether it be lunches for kids, while they’re unexpectedly at home, or first responders, supplies, it makes you proud to be a Mountaineer,” said Riddle.

While encouraging social distancing, the tourism industry in particular is expected to have a long road to recovery as states slowly work to deal with the COVID-19 at their own pace. In response, the Morgantown CVB has offered virtual tours of local parks and landmarks that have been closed as a result of the outbreak. This includes locations such as Dorsey’s Knob and Cathederal State Park, who much like the popular Cooper’s Rock, has been closed on government orders. For now, Riddle says the intent is to promote the best parts of North Central West Virginia as possible.

“As long as we are doing the right thing, as soon as that gets reopened we’ll have all of those resources out there again for people to start and make those connections, and bring people here to the region,” she said.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

West Virginia COVID-19 cases jump to 191

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has confirmed 29 new COVID-19 cases bringing the statewide total to 191.

As of April 1, 4,575 West Virginians have been tested for COVID-19 with 4,384 negative results, keeping the overall infection rate at four percent.

Locally, Monongalia County is up one case to 32, Harrison County increased by four cases to 14, Marion County now has 8 and Preston County has 3 cases.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Mon County officials declare state of emergency

MORGANTOWN,W.Va. – On Wednesday, Mon County commissioners declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

MECCA 911 Director Jim Smith updated commissioners about when the peak might hit West Virginia.

“We’re at the beginning,”Smith said,”They are not projecting West Virginia to hit the peak until May 1, about one month from now.”

Smith says leadership at the state and local level has put our state ahead of some others in terms of safety.

“Since West Virginia did have the advantage of seeing what was going on throughout the country, we did start early,”Smith said,”They believe that will help us in trying to keep our numbers down.”

Smith says if our infection rate remains low and residents follow CDC guidelines our hospital capacity will likely be able to handle a surge.

“These last two weeks have been long and the next will be even longer,”Smith said,”But, I think if we stay the course we’ll see the benefits from it.”

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV