City Hall News: June 1-5, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., May 30, 2020: Council’s Finance Committee meets virtually Monday, June 1, at 10 a.m. The committee will hear updates on the city’s financial position, in addition to reviewing several proposed budget revisions.

Council meets virtually Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m. The agenda has not yet been finalized but so far includes consideration of any budget revisions recommended for approval at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

Budget revisions occur when it is necessary to move funds from one line or department in the budget to cover unanticipated expenses in another. When funds are proposed to be shifted within departments, council’s approval is sufficient. When funds are proposed to be moved between departments, revisions are subject to review by the state auditor’s office to ensure the city’s overall budget will remain in balance after the change.

Council also plans to discuss options for and challenges to returning to in-person meetings.

Street paving will continue in various locations throughout the city during the first part of the week.

All council, committee, board, and commission meetings are open to the public. All meetings are being held virtually, using the Zoom platform. Login information and instructions for submitting public comments can be found here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/login.

Governor’s Guidance for Week 5 Reopenings

The “Week 5” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Tuesday, May 26 (with some categories of businesses opening Saturday, May 30).

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):

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

COVID-19 Testing Saturday in Elkins and Mill Creek

Covid Testing is Saturday, May 30

Elkins, WV – There will be a community Covid-19 testing this Saturday, May 30 at locations in Mill Creek and Elkins.  The tests are free to the public and will not be subject to pre-screening guidelines.

According to Elkins-Randolph County Health Department Director of Threat Preparedness Bonnie Woodrum, the testing will help state officials determine the amount of community coronavirus spread in the county.

Testing at both locations will be available from 10 am until 4 pm, or while supplies last.

In Elkins, the public may visit the Davis Medical Center (DMC) Covid Testing Drive-Thru Site located on the campus of DMC.  Valley HealthCare will provide testing at their site in Mill Creek, 6 Town Center Plaza, Suite A.

At the sites, medical staff will administer the test while motorists remain in their cars.  The screening involves a quick nasal swab, which will be sent to a state-designated laboratory for processing.  Testing will be by request, which means no criteria will have to be met, and no age restrictions apply.

Woodrum is coordinating the testing event with assistance from local groups including Davis Medical Center, The Office of Emergency Management, Randolph County Sherriff’s Department, Valley HealthCare, and the Randolph County Emergency Squad.  The West Virginia Army National Guard is providing 500 test kits for each site, required forms, PPE and coolers, and will pick up and deliver specimens. The Randolph County Sheriff’s Department will provide for support by law enforcement.

“Because our county has had a rapid increase in positive cases, including ones resulting from community spread, we need a better understanding of the magnitude.  This testing event will provide a good sampling from which to draw valuable data,” said Woodrum.

Residents should continue to practice coronavirus safety measures including hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing face coverings while in public.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Education (CDC), these practices can help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Questions about the May 30, 2020 community testing should be directed to the Elkins-Randolph County Health Department at 304.636.0396.

May 28, 2020

Contact: Tracy Fath, 304.637.3467

Reopening Update for City Parks and Rec Facilities

No announced date for reopening Phil Gainer Recreation Center and Riverbend Park

Elkins, W. Va., May 27, 2020: At a meeting last week, the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission announced reopening steps being taken at city parks and recreation facilities. As reopening proceeds, the commission advises all park users to observe recommended precautions for reducing COVID-19 risk, including distancing from other people, frequent handwashing or sanitization, and the use of masks where distancing may not be practicable.

Playgrounds at city parks are now reopened. Use of playgrounds is at patrons’ own risk. The use of pavilions is discouraged but not prohibited; no reservations are being accepted.

The 2020 summer day camp program has been cancelled.

There is not yet an announced date for reopening either the Phil Gainer Community Center or Riverbend Park.

Please visit www.cityofelkinswv.com/coronavirus for more information about these updates (including copies of relevant orders and guidelines), as well as an overview of COVID-19 response in Elkins and West Virginia.

City Hall News: May 25-29, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., May 23, 2020: Elkins City Hall is closed Monday, in observance of Memorial Day. Please join us in remembering American veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms throughout this nation’s history.

There are no council or committee meetings scheduled during this week. Trash normally collected on Monday will be collected Tuesday instead. Please continue to place out items for collection by the Sanitation Department only in tied trash bags.

Tuesday begins the second week of Elkins City Hall being open to the public after its pandemic-related closure. Customers are still asked to minimize in-person visits and instead use online, phone, mail, and drop-box options for paying bills. All city offices are reachable via phone and email at the contact information available through this page of the city website: www.cityofelkinswv.com/contact.

If you must visit city hall, please help us keep you and city employees as safe as possible by ensuring that only two customers are in the lobby at one time and by calling ahead for appointments with second-floor personnel. Please also follow Governor Justice’s strong recommendations to wear masks and maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people.

Police department renovations are in their final weeks. New furniture, built by West Virginia Correctional Industries, has been delivered and officers are in the process of moving into and organizing their workspaces.

Work is also progressing on renovations to the Phil Gainer Community Center. Contractors recently removed the old ductwork and air handlers from the main activity room and rerouted sprinkler lines. A generator has been installed, enabling the building’s use as an emergency shelter if needed.

Boil-Water Advisory Lifted

May 22, 2020
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Lab tests found no contamination from Tuesday’s water-main break. The boil-water advisory has been lifted, effective immediately.

Justice Calls Masks Crucial to Reducing Infections

 May 21, 2020

Masks are crucial to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Governor Jim Justice emphasized at yesterday’s press briefing.

He used the country of Japan as a comparison with the United States.

Japan has lost less than 800 people to coronavirus so far—that is, 800 cumulative coronavirus deaths.

The United States has lost an average of about 1,000 people a day since February 15. Our cumulative virus death toll is more than 93,000 people, as of May 21.

What’s the difference between the two countries?

Masks, Justice explained.

“In the nation of Japan… they’ve all got masks on when they’re outside,” he said. “They’re just trying to look out for themselves.”

Justice urged West Virginia to bring this lesson home to the Mountain State.

“West Virginia, please: wear your mask if you’re going to be out in a group of people,” he said. “Protect yourself and protect others. That’s all there is to it.”

A recent study found that, if 80 percent of people would wear masks, there would be almost no need for continued shutdowns: https://www.foxnews.com/science/coronavirus-infections-plunge-80-percent-wore-masks. (This study has not yet been peer reviewed.)

Note on comparing the U.S. and Japan: Japan’s population is 38 percent of the United State’s population. To make an apples to apples comparison, multiply Japan’s deaths by about 2.6. Correcting for population difference this way, Japan’s cumulative coronavirus death toll is the equivalent of about 2,500 deaths in the United States—still considerably less than the United States’s cumulative death toll of more than 93,000.

Boil-Water Advisory Remains in Effect for Parts of Elkins Area

May 21, 2020
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A boil-water advisory is still in effect for parts of the Elkins area. This advisory cannot be updated until Friday because of the time needed to perform lab testing of water samples.

Neighborhoods under a boil-water advisory include all customers in Crystal Springs and also any customers west of Worth Avenue and south of Harrison Avenue, including Oak Grove and Tygart Valley Mall. Water customers outside of the boil-water area may still experience discolored water.

Boil-water advisories are issued out of an abundance of caution and do not necessarily indicate the presence of contaminated water. For more information about boil-water advisories, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the boil water advisory is lifted. Again, the earliest we will be able to announce any updates concerning this advisory will be Friday, May 22.

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:

Water Main Break: Boil-Water Advisory Is In Effect In Crystal Springs and Parts of Elkins

May 20, 2020

The City of Elkins has experienced a major water-main break in the vicinity of Wilson and Worth streets. This break has affected service and water quality across wide areas of the city. Crews have been working since last night to restore service. However, this work has been complicated by 18 inches of concrete road bed and the proximity of gas lines and a sewer main, all under a major truck route. We will restore service as soon as possible.

As a result of this break, many parts of the city are under a boil-water advisory. Areas under a boil-water advisory will include all customers in Crystal Springs west of Worth Avenue and south of Harrison Avenue including Oak Grove, and Tygart Valley Mall. Water customers outside of the boil-water area may still experience discolored water.

Boil-water advisories are issued out of an abundance of caution and do not necessarily indicate the presence of contaminated water. For more information about boil-water advisories, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the boil water advisory is lifted. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:

Governor’s Guidance for Week 4 Reopenings

The official “Week 4” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Thursday, May 21 (with some categories of businesses allowed to open Monday, May 18).

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):

Note for lodging facilities: The executive order requiring out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine will be lifted in Week 4. In accordance with this change, additional guidance documents are available for hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, and cabins.
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