Elkins Cancels 2020 Spring Cleanup

Elkins, W. Va., October 19, 2020: The 2020 Elkins Spring Cleanup event, postponed earlier this year, has now been cancelled, officials announced today. The event was postponed during the spring for safety reasons and now will not be rescheduled during 2020.

The initial postponement came during the first month of the coronavirus epidemic in West Virginia. The decision to postpone was based on public health recommendations and advice from the West Virginia Public Service Commission about reducing the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus on surfaces. Because of that postponement, the city missed the ideal window of opportunity for providing this courtesy service to city residents and businesses.

“The problem is really one of timing,” says Bob Pingley, the city’s operations manager. “Providing the Spring Cleanup service ties up our street department personnel for about two weeks straight. Spring is a good time for that, because by then we’ve usually wrapped up with plowing and other winter work but haven’t yet started doing street repairs and other typical summer work. At this point, it really doesn’t look like we can fit it in this year without sacrificing some projects that need to take a higher priority at this point.”

For households and businesses that need to dispose of large items now and cannot wait until next spring, one option is to request a special pickup. For information about special pickups, please visit: www.bit.ly/ElkinsSpecialPickup. Items can also be delivered directly to Tygarts Valley Sanitation or other licensed waste collection facilities.

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Elkins Resuming In-person Meetings

Elkins, W. Va., September 10, 2020: Elkins Common Council and its committees will return to in-person meetings effective immediately, Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton announced today. A memo from Mayor Van Broughton explained that the first in-person committee meetings will be held next week, while the regular council meeting of September 17 will be postponed to September 24 to allow time for the installation of protective plexiglass barriers in council chambers.

“Council members have made clear that they feel they cannot deliberate effectively unless they are in the same room together,” says Sutton. “We haven’t found a workable way to enable that while also broadcasting the meetings audibly for the public, so there is no way forward but to return to fully in-person meetings as soon as possible.”

City of Elkins suspended in-person meetings upon Mayor Broughton’s declaration of a citywide state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic on March 17. The primary obstacle to in-person council meetings was the size of the group that is required to be in attendance.

“Elkins has a ten-person city council, which is one of the largest in the state,” says Sutton. “There are also six city staff members who are required to attend council meetings. That’s a big crowd to try to space out six feet apart while still enabling the meeting to be audible online, and of course we had to accomplish both of these goals  given the governor’s orders and recommendations to stay out of public spaces as much as possible.”

Instead, and in accordance with advice issued by the West Virginia Ethics Commission, which administers the state’s open meetings laws, virtual meetings were held on the Zoom platform, with councilors, staff, and members of the public all joining remotely. However, this approach encountered some technical glitches and one “Zoom bombing” attack, and councilors increasingly expressed interest in being able to deliberate in person.

In response, the city clerk’s office ordered installation of a software solution that would bring the signal from the council-chamber sound board into a computer for broadcast over Zoom.

“The purpose of this solution was to enable councilors to deliberate in council chambers while letting the public listen to clear audio of the meeting online,” says Sutton.

This solution still didn’t solve the social distancing problem raised by a full meeting of council and its administrative officers, however, so at first the plan was to use this approach only for meetings of council’s three-member committees. However, the first two committee meetings that used this solution were plagued by audio issues.

“Councilors are intent on meeting in person, and we just don’t have a good way to enable them to do so while making clear audio of the meeting available online,” says Sutton. “So, starting next week, we’ll go to full in-person meetings once again, with both meeting participants and audience members able to gather in council chambers.”

Staff will continue to explore how to make the meeting audio available online, but the city’s experience so far suggests that this may not be feasible without significant additional cost.

The mayor’s memo outlines safety precautions that will be taken for these in-person meetings. These include maximum occupancy limitations for council chambers to ensure all audience members may be seated six feet apart, restrictions against entry by people suffering from the symptoms of or having tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and a requirement that face coverings be worn by all meeting participants and audience members except when addressing the meeting.

“It’s frustrating to have to leave the virtual option behind for the time being, because I think that offers a really good opportunity for attendance by people who otherwise might not be able to come to council meetings,” says Sutton. “The good news is that this change will eliminate a major distraction and allow council to focus even more strongly on doing the people’s business.”

Door Sign Available: Masks Required

Effective July 7, 2020, Governor Jim Justice announced an order requiring that “face coverings” be worn “in all public indoor places where social distancing cannot be maintained.”

The governor’s office has now distributed a door sign that business owners and others can post to remind customers of this requirement. Click here to download the sign.

The order does not apply to children under the age of 9 or anyone with a medical condition that counter-indicates wearing a face covering. The governor emphasized that medical-grade masks are not required and that any sort of face covering would be acceptable. (Click here for sew/no-sew mask-making instructions).

Click here to read the governor’s order.

Elkins City Hall Reopening Monday, July 13, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., July 12, 2020: Elkins City Hall, which closed on Thursday and Friday because an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, will reopen Monday morning at 8 a.m. for normal hours of operation.

The purpose of the closure was to prevent any additional virus transmission while the extent of current spread within city hall staff was evaluated. On Thursday, city employees identified as having been in contact with the first affected employee were swabbed for the COVID-19 virus. As per DHHR and CDC guidelines, these employees then self-isolated while awaiting the results of their tests. During the closure, city hall maintenance staff performed deep cleaning of the first affected employee’s workspace and other nearby areas. (more…)

Update Concerning Elkins City Hall COVID-19 Closure

Reopening Date Depends on Pending Test Results

Elkins, W. Va., July 10, 2020: Elkins City Hall remains closed today after one city hall employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on Wednesday. Reopening could occur as soon as Monday, July 13, but it is not yet possible to announce a firm reopening date. (more…)

City Hall Closed Starting Thursday

An Employee has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Elkins City Hall will be closed starting Thursday, July 9 because an employee has tested positive for coronavirus.

We are not able to provide an estimated reopening date at this time. We will update this announcement as soon as possible after further evaluation of this complex and fluid situation.

Please expect delayed responses to any emails or phone messages directed at city staff.

Utilities customers and those needing to pay court costs are reminded that it is possible to do so online.

* To pay utility bills: https://bit.ly/ElkinsBills
* To pay court costs: www.municipalonlinepayments.com/elkinswv

Governor: Face Coverings Required Indoors

At today’s coronavirus briefing, Governor Jim Justice announced an order requiring that “face coverings” be worn “in all public indoor places where social distancing cannot be maintained.”

The order is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on July 7, 2020.

The order does not apply to children under the age of 9 or anyone with a medical condition that counter-indicates wearing a face covering. The governor emphasized that medical-grade masks are not required and that any sort of face covering would be acceptable. (Click here for sew/no-sew mask-making instructions.

In remarks explaining the order and why he has issued it, the governor offered the following examples of when masks should be worn:

  • While entering and exiting your workplace (once inside, you may remove it if an appropriate distance can be maintained from coworkers)
  • At all times while in any retail establishment
  • When entering or exiting a restaurant or bar and otherwise when not actively engaged in the consumption of food or beverages

Click here to read the governor’s order.

Davis Medical Center Press Release: Revised Patient Visitation Rules

ELKINS, WV – Starting this week, some patient visitation rules at Davis Health System hospitals will be relaxed.  Stricter guidelines were put in effect amid the Coronavirus pandemic which began in March, 2020.  Health system officials hope lessening those strict rules will alleviate anxiety felt by patients, families and caregivers alike.

“It’s not the nature of caregivers to suggest patients and families be kept apart.  In fact, under normal circumstances we promote it as essential to healing,” said Dr. Catherine “Mindy” Chua DO, FAAFP, FMNM, CPE, Davis Health System Chief Medical Officer.  “We’re happy to finally begin slowly lessening the rules of the temporary visitation policy.”

Davis Medical Center Instructions for Visitors: 

  • All visitors will wear a mask throughout their entire stay. Masks will be available for those who do not have their own.
  • All visitors will practice proper hand hygiene upon entry and departure from patient rooms and the facility.
  • Visitors must be age 18 or older.
  • Further visitation exceptions for compassionate care and essential caregivers will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Each patient will determine 2 persons as “designated visitors” during the admission process. Only designated visitors will be allowed to visit during the patient’s length of stay.
  • Only one visitor will be allowed in the room with the patient at a time.
  • Designated visitor must check in with the unit secretary upon arrival to receive a “punch card”.   When the visitor leaves the hospital for the day, the punch card will be marked.   Visitors must present the punch card each day they present for visitation.
  • During their visit, guests may leave only for dining within the hospital.  Those who leave the building will not be allowed to return to the patient room on that same day.

According to Davis Health System, the rules are enforced for the further protection of guests, patients and staff, and are subject to change in response to future COVID activity.

“Until our communities are completely free from the threat of Coronavirus spread, we will continue to follow CDC safe practice guidelines.  This revised policy is geared toward minimizing any risk of exposure or spread.  Guests may not visit patients in the hospital who have tested positive for COVID, or who are under investigation for a positive result,” Chua added.

Additional department-specific guidelines apply to Davis Medical Center visitation.  These include:

  • Emergency Department patients are allowed one person to accompany them.  They must remain with the patient at all times.   Other visitors must remain in vehicles. Compassionate care exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Adult and pediatric patients having an outpatient procedure or surgery may have one designated guest accompany them, and remain with them until the procedure.  Once the patient is taken for their procedure, the guest will wait in the Surgical Waiting Area.
  • Inpatient surgical case visitors will wait in the patient room.   Once the surgical procedure is finished, the visitor will be directed to the physician consultation room to await the surgeon.
  • Adult and pediatric patients with appointments in the Family Practice, Pediatric, or Specialty Clinics may have one designated person over the age of 18 accompany them. Guests must wear a face covering throughout the office visit.

Contact:

Tracy D. Fath
V.P., Marketing & Development
812 Gorman Ave.
Elkins, WV 26241
cell: 304.614.2460
office: 304.637.3467

Governor’s Guidance for Week 10 Reopenings

The “Week 10” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Wednesday, July 1.

Below is an excerpt from the governor’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback web page showing the business categories that may reopen this week (with links to guidance documents showing safety precautions they should, and in some cases must, take):

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Click here for information about keeping up with the latest news and updates concerning the governor’s reopening plan.

Governor’s Guidance for Week 9 Reopenings

The “Week 9” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Monday, June 22. According to the governor’s website, it appears there will be no “Week 8” phase.

Below is an excerpt from the governor’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback web page showing the business categories that may reopen this week (with links to guidance documents showing safety precautions they should, and in some cases must, take):

Monday, June 22, 2020

Click here for information about keeping up with the latest news and updates concerning the governor’s reopening plan.

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