Scout office reopening Friday

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    As we reported last week, the Cherokee Scout closed your local newspaper’s office to the public on Aug. 14, then for the entire week of Aug. 17-21 and continuing this week, after a staff associate was in close contact with a person who later tested positive for COVID-19. That proved to be the right call, as our associate also tested positive for the virus.
    The good news is no one else who works at the Scout, nor any of their family members, tested positive. Considering some of us worked in the office for up to four days with the associate who came down with COVID-19, that was a huge relief.
    It also shows how important it is to maintain adequate distance from each other, even inside the same building, and to never come to work if you’re showing symptoms.
    Today, I’m happy to report that the associate who tested positive has been retested again and received a negative result. Since the quarantine period has passed, the building has been thoroughly sanitized and additional safety precautions like a Plexiglass shield at the front counter put in place, we will be reopening the Scout’s office at 89 Sycamore St. in downtown Murphy to the public during our usual full-time hours of 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. starting Friday.
    The staff at the Scout has done a great job of holding down the fort and continuing to produce first-class newspapers with almost daily website updates during this time. Thank you for bearing with us, as we could not bear the thought of accidentally infecting someone else.
    Going through this experience did give us a chance to see the Cherokee County Health Department at work firsthand. The system set up at the health department office in Murphy is superb, with the folks getting tested registering in advance and not even having to leave their vehicle.
    Nose-swabbing registered nurse Lindsey Roberts has great car-side manner, bringing a smile out of what could have been an anxious time, while Health Director David Badger was outside holding an umbrella and helping her in the rain. The contact tracing protocols that followed were thorough. I’m proud to live in a community that is trying so hard to protect our residents.
    We also extended the annual Readers’ Choice contest deadline by one week in order to ensure everyone had a chance to vote, so make sure your ballots are turned in by Friday. In the meantime, stay safe and thanks for reading.
– Publisher & Editor David Brown