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Moundsville Council Considers Return to Live Meetings

MOUNDSVILLE – City leaders floated the idea of returning to in-person meetings for city council as soon as February, and one council member would like to see it done even sooner.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, City Manager Rick Healy discussed the target date of reopening the city building for Feb. 1, one day ahead of the month’s first city council meeting. Healy said February would give them a chance to see how the holiday season has affected numbers of new COVID-19 cases.

“That’ll get us through January, give us a chance to see where we’re at with numbers after the Christmas crunch starts to happen later on in this month,” Healy said. He referenced a release from the Marshall County Health Department from that day, which indicated that 16 new positive cases and 13 probable cases had been identified.

“Our numbers, in Marshall County, are still bad, as they are in most of West Virginia for COVID. Today’s numbers, I believe, the positives and probable cases came close to 30. The numbers are still coming on heavy, and I think, with the Christmas crunch, we’re better off to sit back and wait, and hopefully by the end of the month, things will be better instead of worse, we can get settled in, and open up on Feb. 1 with open council meetings on Feb. 2.”

Mayor David Wood said the city’s thinking was that they needed to give themselves time, as the county, in terms of the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources coronavirus map, was still “very, very red.”

“We are having a lot of cases, and we’ve been having a lot of cases. Our thinking is, why open it and then possibly have to close it another week later?” Wood said. “That’s why we’re focusing on our next two meetings, through Zoom, and hopefully Feb. 2 we can have a live, face-to-face council meeting.”

Council member Ginger DeWitt disagreed with the delay, saying that as Gov. Jim Justice is ordering the reopening of elementary and middle schools by Jan. 19, government buildings should follow suit.

“I want to go on record and say that I disagree, and I believe we should open this month,” DeWitt said. “With the governor opening up schools and things, obviously the thinking there is that it’s not as bad as it was, and that people don’t want to just hang out (in the city building), they want to pay their bills and leave immediately.”

The Marshall County Health Department did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the matter.

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