I

 am writing this in self-quarantine as I await test results for an employee who came in contact with COVID-19 from a family member.  

Our staff members have been careful. We have worn masks and we’ve limited our possibility of exposure as much as possible.  

But it is an eye opener when it hits you so close. 

The reality is that I could have been exposed to the virus at work, and that anyone in my office could have been exposed.

The reality is that this could invade our homes, affect our family members.  I felt empathy, anger and frustration: Waves of emotion as I wonder what I would do if I got my family ill from my work. 

My husband, who has a compromised immune system from a severe stroke; my teenage son, not knowing how his growing body would be affected by this virus. 

I thought about how I would feel if one of my employees became ill, or their families. I was sickened with emotion.

My employees and I will continue to do what we must to remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. I do not want a COVID infection to be linked to our offices. 

You will not find our offices always open, and you will not always have someone answering the phone when you call. But you should know we are here, and we promise we will return your call if you leave a message. It might take a day, but we realize how important you are. 

Most of us are working from home; one or two work from the office but that can vary, depending on our safety.  

Newspapers are considered an essential resource and we take that role seriously. We are doing our best to be your local newspaper and have appreciated your support and understanding.  

I will not be gathering with family this holiday, as I usually do. I will instead follow the recommended protocol set in place by state governors in Oregon and Washington. 

I did not travel as we normally did for Thanksgiving this year and will follow the same plan for Christmas this year as well. My family and I will gather again when we know it is safe. I miss my mom, who lives out of state, and my mother-in- law, who also lives out of state and is in her 90s, but I know what is best.  

The risk of multiple family members gathering together to celebrate is not what any of us need for the holidays.  

We need to love them enough to know how to keep them safe. We need to know how to not love them to death.

Chelsea Marr is publisher and owner of Columbia Gorge news.

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