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.
This closure was ordered because, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is possible to carry the virus for as long as two weeks before showing symptoms, and city officials wanted to prevent additional cases being transmitted among other city staff members while the situation was being evaluated.
After learning of the first employee’s positive test and closing the building, city officials followed W. Va. DHHR and Randolph-Elkins Health Department (REHD) guidance to identify and document all known contacts with that first employee during the window of time when transmission might have occurred. City hall maintenance staff also commenced a deep cleaning of the indicated workspaces.
On Thursday, the identified individuals were swabbed for the COVID-19 virus. As per DHHR and CDC guidelines, these employees are required to self-isolate until test results are received.
“Employees whose tests come back negative are permitted to return to work immediately under strict precautions, such as distancing, masks, gloves as needed, and frequent sanitization measures,” said Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton. “The original employee who tested positive and any others who may test positive will have to follow individual guidance from the health department as to when and how they can return.”
After analyzing the layout of the building, the testing efforts that are underway, and the extent and nature of city hall employees’ interaction with customers, REHD officials have approved the reopening of city hall to the public once the testing process is complete. City officials are waiting to announce a firm reopening date until test results are received. City hall could reopen as early as Monday if a sufficient number of employees test negative for the COVID-19 virus.
“Of course, if we learn about any new positive cases, we will have to reevaluate additional potential employee exposures and any risk to the public before determining next steps,” said Sutton.
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.
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.
Happy Fourth of July, Elkins! As you celebrate Independence Day today, remember that it is illegal to use “consumer” fireworks inside Elkins city limits. Consumer fireworks include bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles, and other fireworks that explode or launch into the air. Handheld sparklers and ground-based fountains, worms, and smoke bombs are allowed. When using allowed fireworks, please also be considerate of neighbors (and neighbors’ pets).
Council’s Finance Committee convenes virtually on Monday at 10 a.m. to consider various budget adjustments and a request for additional street paving funds. The committee will also hear a report on the city’s current financial position, as well as an update on the city’s application for reimbursement of pandemic-related expenses under the federal CARES Act. Login information for this meeting is here: www.cityofelkinswv.com.
On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the Elkins Tree Board will hold an in-person meeting in the garden next to the Darden House, adjacent to city hall. The board’s agenda includes budget planning for fiscal year 2021, a report on 2020 grant expenditures, and ongoing tree inventory work.
The city’s glass and yard-waste recycling drop-off location will be closed through Monday. The location will reopen Tuesday at 6:30 a.m.
Elkins, W. Va., June 29, 2020: As Independence Day draws closer, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton and city public safety officials are reminding area residents about important precautions and legal restrictions to keep in mind when using fireworks.
“The Chamber has postponed their annual fireworks show until at least Labor Day,” said Mayor Broughton. “In case people are thinking about doing their own fireworks, we just want to make sure everyone’s following the law and staying as safe as possible.”
Although state laws concerning fireworks were loosened in 2016, Elkins city code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to use, shoot, or discharge consumer fireworks within the City limits.” Violators of the city fireworks ordinance may be fined as much as $500.
“Consumer fireworks—which include firecrackers, rockets, Roman candles, and that sort of thing—are illegal inside city limits,” said Elkins Police Department Chief Travis Bennett. “Basically, if it’s a handheld device like a sparkler, or if it’s a ground-based device like fountains, snakes, or smoke bombs, it’s allowed. If it fires something into the air or explodes, it’s against the law in Elkins.”
Regardless of whether fireworks are being used inside or outside of city limits, Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader hopes everyone will follow certain important safety precautions.
“Don’t let kids use fireworks, don’t use fireworks when you’ve been drinking, and never try to relight fireworks that didn’t go off,” says Chief Meader. “Also, please make sure you have a bucket of water or a garden hose ready just in case you accidentally start something on fire.”
Mayor Broughton hopes residents will consider their neighbors when using fireworks.
“I would ask everybody to stop and think about how their fireworks displays might be affecting others in our community,” says Broughton. “Especially when people use fireworks on days other than the fourth of July, it can cause a lot of anxiety for people with PTSD, like some of our veterans. And no matter what day you do it on, it’s going to be really frightening for a lot of people’s pets. I know people just want to have fun and celebrate America’s birthday, but let’s all try to be as considerate as possible.”
The Elkins Planning Commission meets virtually Wednesday at 1 p.m. to continue drafting a new zoning ordinance. Login information: www.cityofelkinswv.com/login.
Business license renewals are due to the Treasurer’s Department by Tuesday. (If mailed, they must be postmarked June 30.) If you have not yet received a license renewal form in the mail, or if you are applying for your first license, you must first submit a copy of your state business license to the Treasurer’s Department. If you have questions, please call (304) 636-1414, ext. 1318 or ext. 1721.
Council meets virtually Thursday at 7 p.m. The agenda, which is not yet finalized, includes consideration of changes to municipal court fees and penalties as required by House Bill 4958.
Business and occupation (B&O) tax forms for the second-quarter filing period will be mailed this week. Returns are due July 31.
City hall will be closed on Friday, July 3. Trash will be collected on the normal schedule.
Elkins, W. Va., June 20, 2020: On Monday, city officials will swear in the newest member of the Elkins Police Department, filling one of three current vacancies. In the next fiscal year, which commences July 1, an additional sworn officer position will be created as a result of the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Hiring Program grant award that the department recently received. Candidates on the current Elkins Police Civil Service Commission list are being evaluated to fill these vacancies.
Summer is certification season at the Elkins Fire Department (EFD). Over the next several months, the department will be testing and recertifying its pumps, aerial ladder and related apparatus, and hoses.
In the fall, EFD will be testing for a new Elkins Firefighters Civil Service Commission hiring list. The department’s seven current civil service positions are fully staffed. However, any future vacancies may only be filled with candidates from a civil service list, so anyone interested in a paid firefighter position in Elkins should plan to test this fall.
EFD’s strength and agility test is strenuous and includes running, stair climbing while carrying a hose, dummy dragging, and moving an I-beam with blows from a sledgehammer. Prospective candidates are encouraged to start training now; you may contact the fire department to learn specifics about these requirements: (304) 636-3433.
For several years, the City of Elkins has partnered with the Randolph County Humane Society (RCHS) by hosting adoptable cats in the Elkins City Hall Treasurer’s Department offices. If you are stopping by to pay bills or transact other business at the front counter, please say hello to Penelope, the fourteenth cat we have hosted. For more information about Penelope or other adoptable pets, please contact RCHS: (304) 636-7844.
Council will meet in special session Thursday at 7 p.m. to discuss wording of a consensus statement on current nationwide events. This meeting is public but will be held virtually. Login information is available here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/login.
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.
Tracy D. Fath
V.P., Marketing & Development
812 Gorman Ave.
Elkins, WV 26241
Elkins, W. Va., June 13, 2020: Monday commences the fifth week since Elkins City Hall reopened to the public. Before visiting, please review the safety precautions on this page of our website: www.cityofelkinswv.com/visiting-city-hall-pandemic-expect.
On Monday, at 3:15 p.m., the Elkins Sanitary Board—the body that oversees the city’s wastewater collection and treatment—will hear an update on the Phase II Sewer Project, consider invoices presented for approval, and review its latest financial statements.
The Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission holds an in-person meeting Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Darden House (next door to city hall). On Wednesday, at 9 a.m., council’s Municipal Properties Committee meets to discuss the Elkins Main Street Streetscape project. Also on Wednesday, the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission holds an in-person meeting at 5 p.m. in the Phil Gainer Community Center. Agenda items include discussion of ongoing pandemic response and the status of remaining closures and restrictions.
Council meets in regular session Thursday, at 7 p.m. The agenda has not yet been finalized, but one item concerns contracting with an arborist for tree care and maintenance downtown.
City hall will be closed Friday in observance of West Virginia Day. Trash will be collected on the normal schedule.
Business license renewals are due to the Treasurer’s Department by July 1. If you have not yet received a license renewal form in the mail, or if you are applying for your first license, you must first submit a copy of your state business license to the Treasurer’s Department. If you have questions, please call (304) 636-1414, ext. 1318 or ext. 1721.
All the above meetings are open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, all council and committee meetings are being held virtually. Log-in information for each meeting will be posted on this page: www.cityofelkinswv.com/login.