Jeff Neal

We have reported, I hope with great empathy, when local businesses have suffered with cases of COVID-19.

From nursing homes to factories to local eateries, the pandemic has wreaked havoc in our community.

Well now I have to report that the coronavirus has made its way into the Commonwealth Journal.

The past 72 hours have been hectic to say the least.

Long story short, Caleb Lowndes, our gifted photographer/paginator, tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

Because of having "close contact" with Caleb, we have also lost reporter Carla Slavey, Sports Editor Steve Cornelius and two valuable sports correspondents, Doug Eads and Michael Childers, for two weeks. They're in quarantine.

We now fully understand what businesses and restaurants have gone through in 2020 when a coronavirus case crops up. It's tough. You're short-handed and it makes it very difficult on the people who remain.

Here at the CJ, we will do our very best to provide our readers with the coverage they are accustomed to, both in news and sports.

But for the next couple weeks, you will likely see a difference. The newspaper may be a bit more thin and our coverage may be way more spotty than what we'd like.

But you will get a newspaper. We're here, our lobby is open and the remaining members of our staff have tested negative and are good to go.

I also want to point out how wonderful the Lake Cumberland District Health Department has been. We've worked with them and are following their guidelines to a tee — and we are doing it without complaint.

The safety of our staff, and the people out in the community we come in contact with, are paramount. So we will roll with the punches and do the best we can during this two-week period.

This year has just been crazy. If nothing else, I think we've learned to adapt — from our kids having to do their school work at home to wearing masks to dealing with limited seating in restaurants. It's not been easy, but we have all pulled together to get through.

For the CJ, these next two weeks will be a microcosm of 2020. It's going to be difficult — but we know that soon things will be back to normal.

Thank you, CJ readers, for your support and understanding.

JEFF NEAL is the Editor of the Commonwealth Journal. Reach him at Follow him on Twitter at @jnealCJ.

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