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Health officials urge the use of face masks in public to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Masking Questions: How Pandemic Health Measures Became Politicized

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — Health officials and researchers say the science is clear: face masks can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Yet in the Ohio Valley, not all elected officials are in agreement on whether to mandate measures such as the use of face masks in public places. In April, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike… Read More

A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly

Overdose Incidents Rose Sharply Around Ohio Valley During Pandemic

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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (OVR) — Emergency response data from across the Ohio Valley show sharp increases in suspected drug overdoses since March, when health measures including school and business closures and stay-at-home orders increased social isolation. For public health officials, it’s a grim reminder that another epidemic is ongoing and possibly worsening during the isolation associated with… Read More

Coronavirus Pandemic

These Three Factors Are Driving Many COVID-19 Outbreaks In Rural Communities

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — As the economies of the Ohio Valley gradually reopen from the pandemic closures, state officials are still reporting hundreds of coronavirus cases each day in the region. In Kentucky, coronavirus cases are again on the rise, with a week-long average of daily cases approaching the highest level yet. Public health officials are concerned… Read More

A warehouse in the Facing Hunger food bank in Huntington, WV.

Ohio Valley Anti-Hunger Advocates Worry Region Overlooked In Over $1 Billion Federal Food Box Program

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — A new federal program is buying more than $1 billion in farm products such as dairy, produce and meat unable to be sold due to the pandemic’s disruptions to the food supply and send “food boxes” to needy families. But some anti-hunger advocates worry that parts of the Ohio Valley may be… Read More

Unemployment Office sign

Another 100K Unemployed In Ohio Valley; US Jobless Total Tops 40M

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — As some businesses in the Ohio Valley reopen and welcome back both customers and employees the region continues reporting high levels of unemployment claims. At least 100,863 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Kentucky, Ohio and West… Read More

Unemployment Office sign

Another 99,000 Join Unemployed In Ohio Valley As U.S. Jobless Total Tops 38M

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OVR) — The U.S. Department of Labor reported close to 99,000 additional unemployment insurance claims in the last week from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, as state unemployment offices worked their way through a backlog of millions of claims filed since the coronavirus pandemic forced business closures beginning in March. For the week ending May 16,… Read More

A caregiver tests a patient for coronavirus at University Hospitals, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.

Rural Ohio Valley Counties Lack Sufficient Coronavirus Tests, Report Says

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WHITESBURG, Ky. (OVR) — Just 15 percent of Kentucky counties meet minimum recommended coronavirus testing levels, according to a new report from health care company Castlight. Sixty-seven percent of West Virginia counties and 31 percent of Ohio counties met the threshold. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that states have the capacity to test 1 percent… Read More

Unemployment Office sign

Ohio Valley Making Progress on Unemployment Backlog

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are making progress on unemployment claims filed in March as states begin a phased-in reopening. New unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. At least 125,459 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic… Read More

Chickens are carried through a poultry slaughterhouse on mechanical arms.

“Will It Be Enough?”: Meatpacking Workers Fear for Safety as Coronavirus Cases Mount

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OVR) — It’s the uncertainty that gets to Darlene Davis. The uncertainty of when she’ll see her 87-year-old mother in person again. The uncertainty of her co-workers’ health. The uncertainty that comes with the novel coronavirus. When a co-worker of hers at the JBS Swift meatpacking plant in Louisville died from COVID-19, she… Read More

Coronavirus

Are Ohio Valley States Ready to Reopen? Analysis Finds More Coronavirus Testing Needed

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OVR) — An analysis by Harvard scientists and NPR finds that most states —  including Kentucky and Ohio — are not testing enough residents for coronavirus in order to meet recommended benchmarks to safely begin to reopen their economies. That analysis by Harvard’s Global Health Institute found that West Virginia is roughly meeting the minimum targets… Read More

Unemployment Office sign

Ohio Valley Hitting Plateau of Unemployment Claims

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — New unemployment insurance claims are starting to reach a plateau but are still hitting unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. At least 154,102 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in… Read More

A miner is tested for lung function and signs of black lung disease

Coal and COVID-19: Lung Impairment Makes Miners Especially Vulnerable to Coronavirus

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WHITESBURG, Ky. (OVR) — Underground coal miners start their shifts getting changed in closely packed changing rooms. They ride rail cars to their worksite, shoulder-to-shoulder, sometimes for more than an hour. And once they’re underground, ventilation designed to tamp down coal dust blows air through the mine. All that makes a coal mine  the kind… Read More

Unemployment Office sign

Ohio Valley Addressing Backlog of Unemployment Claims but Some are Still Waiting for Benefits

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — New unemployment insurance claims in the Ohio Valley began to taper off this week as states make their way through the backlog of applications amid business closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic. But local economies still face a staggering number of unemployed, and many of those who are out of work… Read More

A group of pigs

As Trump Orders Meatpackers to Stay Open, Health Department Complaints Allege Louisville Plant Failed to Protect Workers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OVR) — As President Trump ordered meatpacking plants on Tuesday to keep operating amid the coronavirus pandemic, more details are emerging about the concerns workers had about their safety at a facility in Louisville, where dozens of workers were infected and one died. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services reported as of Monday,… Read More

SNAP logo

Online SNAP Program Could Increase Food Accessibility in Ohio Valley

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — Kentucky and West Virginia have recently been added to a federal pilot program to allow food stamp recipients to purchase groceries online, and Ohio Valley anti-hunger advocates say it’s a good move to improve food accessibility amid the coronavirus pandemic. The pilot program lets those receiving food assistance through the Supplemental… Read More

Unemployment

Ohio Valley Still Processing Significant Unemployment Claims

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. Nearly 260,000 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in addition to the more than one million unemployment assistance applications… Read More

A warehouse in the Facing Hunger food bank in Huntington, WV.

Demand Soars at Food Banks While Farmers Have Too Much Food

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — Food banks and pantries across the Ohio Valley are seeing spiked demand as an unprecedented surge of people continue to file for unemployment benefits, with food banks facing weeks long delays to get certain products. Meanwhile, some farmers are facing a financial crisis, sitting on excess food they can’t sell — food… Read More

A box to drop off absentee ballots sits in the parking lot of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland.

A Pandemic Voter Guide for Ohio’s 2020 Primary

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ATHENS, Ohio (OVR) — Ohio’s primary was moved to April 28 from its original date on March 17. The most important thing to remember about the date of Ohio’s rescheduled primary is April 27 — the day before the actual election date. That’s because most residents will be voting by mail, and those ballots must… Read More

Unemployment Office sign

Ohio Valley Continues Unprecedented Surge of Unemployment

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. At least 287,576 people in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s in addition to the roughly 755,000 claims form the three states in the previous two… Read More

Treyton Oak Towers, a senior living facility in Louisville where at least nine residents have died from coronavirus.

Coronavirus Takes a Terrible Toll on Ohio Valley Nursing Homes

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — The coronavirus is taking a terrible toll on nursing homes in the Ohio Valley. Well over a thousand residents and staff at nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia have tested positive for coronavirus, and dozens have died from COVID-19. Residents in these facilities are already… Read More

An illustration of a church

Religious Leaders Adapt Holy Week, Passover Traditions To Pandemic

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Pathway Baptist Church in west Kentucky is trying something a bit different from their usual service. Pastor Mike Donald, standing on a makeshift stage in front of a giant outdoor movie screen, is surrounded by congregation members in cars, honking enthusiastically on just about his every word. It’s Sunday service, but at a drive-in movie… Read More

A screenshot of four people in a video conference

“We Belong to Each Other”: Appalachian Youth Build Support Amid Pandemic Uncertainty

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On March 17, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam banned gatherings of 10 or more people to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Mekyah Davis, 23, was in his second week of a new job waiting tables at the cryptid-inspired Wood Booger Grill in Norton, Va. “That week, [my boss] cut the schedule,” Davis recounted. “Everybody only had one… Read More

Chickens are carried through a poultry slaughterhouse on mechanical arms.

Coronavirus Concerns Rise as Ohio Valley Meatpacking Workers Fall Sick

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HINTON, W.Va. (OVR) — As the number of coronavirus cases surge across the country, some meatpacking facilities have been temporarily shuttered due to workers falling ill to the virus. Three workers in Georgia have even died. With workers at some Ohio Valley facilities now testing positive for the virus, worker safety advocates are raising concerns about how… Read More

The cast in rehearsal for “Coal Country.”

Coal Country: Can a Play About a Mine Disaster Help Bridge a National Divide?

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The actors deliver their lines from a sparse stage — just a few benches around them and 29 modest lights above. For the most part they speak directly to the audience, sharing memories of the lives of husbands, sons, fathers and nephews, some of the 29 men who died on April 5, 2010, when an… Read More

Rural Hospital Sign

Coronavirus Straining Financial Resources of Ohio Valley Hospitals

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — As coronavirus cases continue to increase throughout the Ohio Valley, rural hospitals are preparing for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients. But as they do so, these hospitals face tough financial decisions, and some could close down altogether. Hospitals throughout the region have had to make brutal financial decisions the past… Read More